|<< Genesis 1 >>|
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS
This book, in the Hebrew copies of the Bible, and by the Jewish writers, is generally called Bereshith, which signifies "in the beginning", being the first word of it; as the other four books of Moses are also called from their initial words. In the Syriac and Arabic versions, the title of this book is "The Book of the Creation", because it begins with an account of the creation of all things; and is such an account, and so good an one, as is not to be met with anywhere else: the Greek version calls it Genesis, and so we and other versions from thence; and that because it treats of the generation of all things, of the heavens, and the earth, and all that are in them, and of the genealogy of men: it treats of the first men, of the patriarchs before the flood, and after it to the times of Joseph. It is called the "first" book of Moses, because there are four more that follow; the name the Jewish Rabbins give to the whole is , "the five fifths of the law", to which the Greek word "pentateuch" answers; by which we commonly call these books, they being but one volume, consisting of five parts, of which this is the first. And that they were all written by Moses is generally believed by Jews and Christians. Some atheistical persons have suggested the contrary; our countryman Hobbes (a) would have it, that these books are called his, not from his being the author of them, but from his being the subject of them; not because they were written by him, but because they treat of him: but certain it is that Moses both wrote them, and was read, as he was in the Jewish synagogues, every sabbath day, which can relate to no other writings but these, John 1:45. And Spinosa, catching at some doubts raised by Aben Ezra on Deuteronomy 1:1 concerning some passages which seemed to him to have been added by another hand, forms objections against Moses being the author of the book of Genesis; which are sufficiently answered by Carpzovius (b). Nor can Ezra be the author of the Pentateuch, as Spinosa suspects; since it is plain these writings were in being before his time, in the times of Josiah, Amaziah, yea, of David, and also of Joshua, 2 Chronicles 34:14 nay, they are even referred to in the book of Ezra as the writings of Moses, Ezra 3:2 to which may be added, in proof of the same, Deuteronomy 31:9. Nor are there any other writings of his authentic; what are ascribed to him, as the Analepsis of Moses, his Apocalypse, and his Last Will and Testament, are apocryphal. That this book of Genesis particularly was written by him, is evident from the testimony of Philip, and even of our Lord Jesus Christ, who both testify that he wrote concerning the Messiah, John 1:45 as he did in this book, where he speaks of him as the seed of the woman that should break the serpent's head; as the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed; and as the Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people should be, Genesis 3:15. Nor is there any reason to believe that he wrote this book from the annals of the patriarchs, since it does not appear, nor is it very probable, that they had any; nor from traditions delivered down from one to another, from father to son, which is more probable, considering the length of the lives of the patriarchs: but yet such a variety of particulars respecting times, places, persons, their genealogies and circumstances, so nicely and exactly given, can scarcely be thought to be the fruit of memory; and much less is it to be imagined that he was assisted in it by Gabriel, when he lived in solitude in Midian: but it is best of all to ascribe it to divine inspiration, as all Scripture is by the apostle, 2 Timothy 3:16 for who else but God could have informed him of the creation, and the manner and order in which every creature was brought into being, with a multitude of things recorded in this book? the design of which is to lead men into the knowledge and worship of the one true God, the Creator of all things, and of the origin of mankind, the fall of our first parents, and their posterity in them; and to point at the means and method of the recovery of man by the Messiah, the promised seed; and to give an account of the state and case of the church of God, in the times of the patriarchs, both before and after the flood, from Adam, in the line of Seth, to Noah; and from Noah to the times of Joseph, in whose death it ends: and, according to Usher (c), it contains an history of two thousand, three hundred, and sixty nine years.
(a) Leviath. par. 3. c. 33. (b) Introduct. ad Libr. Bib. V. T. c. 4. sect. 2.((c) Annal. Vet. Test. p. 17.
INTRODUCTION TO Genesis 1
This chapter contains an account of the creation of the universe, and all things in it; asserts the creation of the heaven and earth in general, and describes the state and condition of the earth in its first production, Genesis 1:1 and then proceeds to declare the work of each of the six days of creation, and to give an account of light, its separation from darkness and the names of both, the work of the first day, Genesis 1:3 of the firmament, its use and name, the work of the second day, Genesis 1:6 of the appearance of the earth, and the production of grass, herbs, and trees in the earth, the work of the third day, Genesis 1:9 of the sun, moon, and stars, their situation, and use, the work of the fourth day, Genesis 1:14 of the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, the work of the fifth day, Genesis 1:19 of all kinds of cattle, and beasts, and creeping things, Genesis 1:24 and then of man, created male and female, after the image of God, having a grant of dominion over the rest of the creatures, the fruit of divine consultation, Genesis 1:26 and of a provision of food for man and beast, Genesis 1:29. And the chapter is concluded with a survey God took of all his works, and his approbation of them; all which were the work of the sixth day, and closes the account of the creation in that space of time, Genesis 1:31.
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. By the heaven some understand the supreme heaven, the heaven of heavens, the habitation of God, and of the holy angels; and this being made perfect at once, no mention is after made of it, as of the earth; and it is supposed that the angels were at this time created, since they were present at the laying of the foundation of the earth, Job 38:6 but rather the lower and visible heavens are meant, at least are not excluded, that is, the substance of them; as yet being imperfect and unadorned; the expanse not yet made, or the ether and air not yet stretched out; nor any light placed in them, or adorned with the sun, moon, and stars: so the earth is to be understood, not of that properly so called, as separated from the waters, that is, the dry land afterwards made to appear; but the whole mass of earth and water before their separation, and when in their unformed and unadorned state, described in the next verse: in short, these words represent the visible heavens and the terraqueous globe, in their chaotic state, as they were first brought into being by almighty power. The prefixed to both words is, as Aben Ezra observes, expressive of notification or demonstration, as pointing at "those" heavens, and "this earth"; and shows that things visible are here spoken of, whatever is above us, or below us to be seen: for in the Arabic language, as he also observes, the word for "heaven", comes from one which signifies high or above (a); as that for "earth" from one that signifies low and beneath, or under (b). Now it was the matter or substance of these that was first created; for the word set before them signifies substance, as both Aben Ezra and (c) Kimchi affirm. Maimonides (d) observes, that this particle, according to their wise men, is the same as "with"; and then the sense is, God created with the heavens whatsoever are in the heavens, and with the earth whatsoever are in the earth; that is, the substance of all things in them; or all things in them were seminally together: for so he illustrates it by an husbandman sowing seeds of divers kinds in the earth, at one and the same time; some of which come up after one day, and some after two days, and some after three days, though all sown together. These are said to be "created", that is, to be made out of nothing; for what pre-existent matter to this chaos could there be out of which they could be formed? And the apostle says, "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear", Hebrews 11:3. And though this word is sometimes used, and even in this chapter, of the production of creatures out of pre-existent matter, as in Genesis 1:21 yet, as Nachmanides observes, there is not in the holy language any word but this here used, by which is signified the bringing anything into being out of nothing; and many of the Jewish interpreters, as Aben Ezra, understand by creation here, a production of something into being out of nothing; and Kimchi says (e) that creation is a making some new thing, and a bringing something out of nothing: and it deserves notice, that this word is only used of God; and creation must be the work of God, for none but an almighty power could produce something out of nothing. The word used is ElohimÃ¶, which some derive from another, which signifies power, creation being an act of almighty power: but it is rather to be derived from the root in the Arabic language, which signifies to worship (f), God being the object of all religious worship and adoration; and very properly does Moses make use of this appellation here, to teach us, that he who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth is the sole object of worship; as he was of the worship of the Jewish nation, at the head of which Moses was. It is in the plural number, and being joined to a verb of the singular, is thought by many to be designed to point unto us the mystery of a plurality, or trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence: but whether or no this is sufficient to support that doctrine, which is to be established without it; yet there is no doubt to be made, that all the three Persons in the Godhead were concerned in the creation of all things, see Psalm 33:6. The Heathen poet Orpheus has a notion somewhat similar to this, who writes, that all things were made by one Godhead of three names, and that this God is all things (g): and now all these things, the heaven and the earth, were made by God "in the beginning", either in the beginning of time, or when time began, as it did with the creatures, it being nothing but the measure of a creature's duration, and therefore could not be until such existed; or as Jarchi interprets it, in the beginning of the creation, when God first began to create; and is best explained by our Lord, "the beginning of the creation which God created", Mark 13:19 and the sense is, either that as soon as God created, or the first he did create were the heavens and the earth; to which agrees the Arabic version; not anything was created before them: or in connection with the following words, thus, "when first", or "in the beginning", when "God created the heavens and the earth", then "the earth was without form", &c (h). The Jerusalem Targum renders it, "in wisdom God created"; see Proverbs 3:19 and some of the ancients have interpreted it of the wisdom of God, the Logos and Son of God. From hence we learn, that the world was not eternal, either as to the matter or form of it, as Aristotle, and some other philosophers, have asserted, but had a beginning; and that its being is not owing to the fortuitous motion and conjunction of atoms, but to the power and wisdom of God, the first cause and sole author of all things; and that there was not any thing created before the heaven and the earth were: hence those phrases, before the foundation of the world, and before the world began, &c. are expressive of eternity: this utterly destroys the notion of the pre-existence of the souls of men, or of the soul of the Messiah: false therefore is what the Jews say (i), that paradise, the righteous, Israel, Jerusalem, &c. were created before the world; unless they mean, that these were foreordained by God to be, which perhaps is their sense.
(a) "altus fuit, eminuit", Golius, col. 1219. (b) "quicquid humile, inferum et depressum" ib. Colossians 70. Hottinger. Smegma Orient. c. 5. p. 70. & Thesaur. Philolog. l. 1. c. 2. p. 234. (c) Sepher Shorash. rad. (d) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 30. p. 275, 276. (e) Ut supra. (Sepher Shorash.) rad. (f) "coluit, unde" "numen colendum", Schultens in Job. i. 1. Golius, Colossians 144. Hottinger. Smegma, p. 120. (g) See the Universal History, vol. 1. p. 33. (h) So Vatablus. (i) Targum Jon. & Jerus. in Genesis 3.24. T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 54. 1. & Nedarim, fol. 39. 2.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And the earth was without form, and void,.... It was not in the form it now is, otherwise it must have a form, as all matter has; it was a fluid matter, the watery parts were not separated from the earthy ones; it was not put into the form of a terraqueous globe it is now, the sea apart, and the earth by itself, but were mixed and blended together; it was, as both the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it, a waste and desert, empty and destitute of both men and beasts; and it may be added, of fishes and fowls, and also of trees, herbs, and plants. It was, as Ovid (k) calls it, a chaos and an indigested mass of matter; and Hesiod (l) makes a chaos first to exist, and then the wide extended earth, and so Orpheus (m), and others; and this is agreeably to the notion of various nations. The Chinese make a chaos to be the beginning of all things, out of which the immaterial being (God) made all things that consist of matter, which they distinguish into parts they call Yin and Yang, the one signifying hidden or imperfect, the other open or perfect (n): and so the Egyptians, according to Diodorus Siculus (o), whose opinion he is supposed to give, thought the system of the universe had but one form; the heaven and earth, and the nature of them, being mixed and blended together, until by degrees they separated and obtained the form they now have: and the Phoenicians, as Sanchoniatho (p) relates, supposed the principle of the universe to be a dark and windy air, or the blast of a dark air, and a turbid chaos surrounded with darkness, as follows,
and darkness was upon the face of the deep: the whole fluid mass of earth and water mixed together. This abyss is explained by waters in the next clause, which seem to be uppermost; and this was all a dark turbid chaos, as before expressed, without any light or motion, till an agitation was made by the Spirit, as is next observed:
and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, which covered the earth, Psalm 104:6 the earthy particles being heaviest sunk lower, and the waters being lighter rose up above the others: hence Thales (q) the philosopher makes water to be the beginning of all things, as do the Indian Brahmans (r): and Aristotle (s) himself owns that this was the most ancient opinion concerning the origin of the universe, and observes, that it was not only the opinion of Thales, but of those that were the most remote from the then present generation in which he lived, and of those that first wrote on divine things; and it is frequent in Hesiod and Homer to make Oceanus, or the ocean, with Tethys, to be the parents of generation: and so the Scriptures represent the original earth as standing out of the water, and consisting of it, 2 Peter 3:5 and upon the surface of these waters, before they were drained off the earth, "the Spirit of God moved"; which is to be understood not of a wind, as Onkelos, Aben Ezra, and many Jewish writers, as well as Christians, interpret it; since the air, which the wind is a motion of, was not made until the second day. The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call it the spirit of mercies; and by it is meant the Spirit of the Messiah, as many Jewish writers (t) call him; that is, the third Person in the blessed Trinity, who was concerned in the creation of all things, as in the garnishing of the heavens, so in bringing the confused matter of the earth and water into form and order; see Job 26:13. This same Spirit "moved" or brooded (u) upon the face of the waters, to impregnate them, as an hen upon eggs to hatch them, so he to separate the parts which were mixed together, and give them a quickening virtue to produce living creatures in them. This sense and idea of the word are finely expressed by our poet (w). Some traces of this appear in the or mind of Anaxagoras, which when all things were mixed together came and set them in order (x); and the "mens" of Thales he calls God, which formed all things out of water (y); and the "spiritus intus alit", &c. of Virgil; and with this agrees what Hermes says, that there was an infinite darkness in the abyss or deep, and water, and a small intelligent spirit, endued with a divine power, were in the chaos (z): and perhaps from hence is the mundane egg, or egg of Orpheus (a): or the firstborn or first laid egg, out of which all things were formed; and which he borrowed from the Egyptians and Phoenicians, and they perhaps from the Jews, and which was reckoned by them a resemblance of the world. The Egyptians had a deity they called Cneph, out of whose mouth went forth an egg, which they interpreted of the world (b): and the Zophasemin of the Phoenicians, which were heavenly birds, were, according to Sanchoniatho (c), of the form of an egg; and in the rites of Bacchus they worshipped an egg, as being an image of the world, as Macrobius (d) says; and therefore he thought the question, whether an hen or an egg was oldest, was of some moment, and deserved consideration: and the Chinese say (e), that the first man was produced out of the chaos as from an egg, the shell of which formed the heavens, the white the air, and the yolk the earth; and to this incubation of the spirit, or wind, as some would have it, is owing the windy egg of Aristophanes (f). (Thomas Chamlers (1780-1847) in 1814 was the first to purpose that there is a gap between verse 1 and 2. Into this gap he places a pre-Adamic age, about which the scriptures say nothing. Some great catastrophe took place, which left the earth "without form and void" or ruined, in which state it remained for as many years as the geologist required. (g) This speculation has been popularised by the 1917 Scofield Reference Bible. However, the numerous rock layers that are the supposed proof for these ages, were mainly laid down by Noah's flood. In Exodus 20:11 we read of a literal six day creation. No gaps, not even for one minute, otherwise these would not be six normal days. Also, in Romans 5:12 we read that death is the result of Adam's sin. Because the rock layers display death on a grand scale, they could not have existed before the fall of Adam. There is no direct evidence that the earth is much older than six thousand years. However, we have the direct eyewitness report of God himself that he made everything in six days. Tracing back through the biblical genealogies we can determine the age of the universe to be about six thousand years with an error of not more than two per cent.
(k) "Quem dixere chaos, rudis indigestaque moles", Ovid Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 1.((l) &c. Hesiodi Theogonia. (m) Orphei Argonautica, ver. 12. (n) Martin. Sinic. Hist. l. 1. p. 5. (o) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 7. (p) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 2. c. 10. p. 33. (q) Laert. in Vita Thaletis, p. 18. Cicero do Natura Deorum, l. 1.((r) Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 491. (s) Metaphysic. l. 1. c. 3.((t) Zohar in Gen. fol. 107. 3. and fol. 128. 3. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 2. 4. and 6. 3. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 14. fol. 156. 4. Baal Hatturim in loc. Caphtor Uperah, fol. 113. 2.((u) "incubabat", Junius, Tremellius, Piscator, "as a dove on her young", T. Bab. Chagigah, fol. 15. 1.((w) ----and, with mighty wings outspread, Dovelike satst brooding on the vast abyss, And mad'st it pregnant.---- Milton's Paradise Lost, B. 1. l. 20, 21, 22. The same sentiment is in B. 7. l. 234, 235. (x) Laert. in Vita Anaxagor. p. 91. Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 10. c. 14. p. 504. (y) Cicero de Nat. Deorum, l. 1. Lactant, de falsa Relig. l. 1. c. 5. (z) Apud Drusium in loc. (a) Hymn. ver. 1, 2.((b) Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 3. c. 11. p. 115. (c) Apud Ib. l. 2. c. 10. p. 33. (d) Saturnal. l. 7. c. 16. (e) Martin. Sinic. Hist. l. 1. p. 3, 4. (f) In Avibus. (g) Ian Taylor, p. 363, 364, "In the Minds of Men", 1984, TEF Publishing, P.O. Box 5015, Stn. F, Toronto, Canada.
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God said,.... This phrase is used, nine times in this account of the creation; it is admired by Longinus the Heathen in his treatise "of the Sublime", as a noble instance of it; and it is most beautifully paraphrased and explained in Psalm 33:6 as expressive of the will, power, authority, and efficacy of the divine Being; whose word is clothed with power, and who can do, and does whatever he will, and as soon as he pleases; his orders are always obeyed. Perhaps the divine Person speaking here is the Logos or Word of God, which was in the beginning with God, and was God, and who himself is the light that lightens every creature. The words spoke were,
let there be light, and there was light: it at once appeared; "God commanded light to shine out of darkness"; as the apostle says, 2 Corinthians 4:6 this was the first thing made out of the dark chaos; as in the new creation, or work of grace in the heart, light is the first thing produced there: what this light was is not easy to say. Some of the Jewish Rabbins, and also some Christian writers, think the angels are designed by it, which is not at all probable, as the ends and use of this light show: others of them are of opinion, that it is the same with the sun, of which a repetition is made on the fourth day, because of its use and efficacy to the earth, and its plants; but others more rightly take it to be different from the sun, and a more glimmering light, which afterwards was gathered into and perfected in the body of the sun (f). It is the opinion of Zanchius (g), and which is approved of by our countryman, Mr. Fuller (h), that it was a lucid body, or a small lucid cloud, which by its circular motion from east to west made day and night (i); perhaps somewhat like the cloudy pillar of fire that guided the Israelites in the wilderness, and had no doubt heat as well as light; and which two indeed, more or less, go together; and of such fiery particles this body may well be thought to consist. The word "Ur" signifies both fire and light.
(f) Vid. Menasseh ben Israel conciliator in Gen. qu. 2.((g) De Operibus Dei, par. 3. l. 1. c. 2. col. 239. and l. 2. c. 1.((h) Miscell. Sacr. l. 1. c. 12. (i) Milton seems to be of the same mind:----- -----and forthwith light. Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep, and from her native east To journey thro' the airy gloom began, Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle Sojourned the while.----- Paradise Lost, B. 7. l. 243, &c.
4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God saw the light, that it was good,.... Very pleasant and delightful, useful and beneficial; that is, he foresaw it would be good, of great service, as Picherellus (k) interprets it; for as yet there were no inhabitants of the earth to receive any advantage by it; see Ecclesiastes 11:7 besides, it was doubtless good to answer some present purposes, to prepare for the work of the two following days, before the great luminary was formed; as to dispel the darkness of heaven, and that which covered the deep; to rarefy, exhale, and draw up the lighter parts of the chaos, in order to form the wide extended ether, the expanded air, and the surrounding atmosphere, while the Spirit of God was agitating the waters, and separating them from the earthy parts; and which also might serve to unite and harden those which were to form the dry land, and also to warm that when it appeared, that it might bring forth grass, herbs, and fruit trees:
and God divided the light from the darkness: by which it should seem that they were mixed together, the particles of light and darkness; but "by what way is the light parted", severed and divided from darkness, is a question put to men by the Lord himself, who only can answer it, Job 38:24 he has so divided one from the other that they are not together at the same place and time; when light is in one hemisphere, darkness is in the other (l); and the one by certain constant revolutions is made to succeed the other; and by the motion of the one, the other gives way; as well as also God has divided and distinguished them by calling them by different names, as Aben Ezra, and is what next follows:
(k) In Cosmopoeiam, p. 267. (l) Milton in the place above referred to says, it was divided by the hemisphere. Paradise Lost, B. 7. l. 243, &c.
5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night,.... Either by the circulating motion of the above body of light, or by the rotation of the chaos on its own axis towards it, in the space of twenty four hours there was a vicissitude of light and darkness; just as there is now by the like motion either of the sun, or of the earth; and which after this appellation God has given, we call the one, day, and the other, night:
and the evening and the morning were the first day: the evening, the first part of the night, or darkness, put for the whole night, which might be about the space of twelve hours; and the morning, which was the first part of the day, or light, put also for the whole, which made the same space, and both together one natural day, consisting of twenty four hours; what Daniel calls an "evening morning", Daniel 8:26 and the apostle a "night day", 2 Corinthians 11:25. Thales being asked which was first made, the night or the day, answered, the night was before one day (m). The Jews begin their day from the preceding evening; so many other nations: the Athenians used to reckon their day from sun setting to sun setting (n); the Romans from the middle of the night, to the middle of the night following, as Gellius (o) relates; and Tacitus (p) reports of the ancient Germans, that they used to compute not the number of days, but of nights, reckoning that the night led the day. Caesar (q) observes of the ancient Druids in Britain, that they counted time not by the number of days, but nights; and observed birthdays, and the beginnings of months and years, so as that the day followed the night; and we have some traces of this still among us, as when we say this day se'nnight, or this day fortnight. This first day of the creation, according to James Capellus, was the eighteenth of April; but, according to Bishop Usher, the twenty third of October; the one beginning the creation in the spring, the other in autumn. It is a notion of Mr. Whiston's, that the six days of the creation were equal to six years, a day and a year being one and the same thing before the fall of man, when the diurnal rotation of the earth about its axis, as he thinks, began; and in agreement with this, very remarkable is the doctrine Empedocles taught, that when mankind sprung originally from the earth, the length of the day, by reason of the slowness of the sun's motion, was equal to ten of our present months (r). The Hebrew word "Ereb", rendered "evening", is retained by some of the Greek poets, as by Hesiod (s), who says, out of the "chaos" came "Erebus", and black night, and out of the night ether and the day; and Aristophanes (t), whose words are,
chaos, night, and black "Erebus" were first, and wide Tartarus, but there were neither earth, air, nor heaven, but in the infinite bosom of Erebus, black winged night first brought forth a windy egg, &c. And Orpheus (u) makes night to be the beginning of all things. (Hugh Miller (1802-1856) was the first person to popularise the "Day-Age" theory. In his book, "Testimony of the Rocks", that was published in the year after his untimely death, he speculated that that the days were really long ages. He held that Noah's flood was a local flood and the rock layers were laid down long periods of time. (v) This theory has been popularised by the New Scofield Bible first published in 1967.
(m) Laert. in Vita Thaletis. p. 24. (n) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 77. (o) Noct. Attic. l. 3. c. 2.((p) De Mor. German. c. 11. (q) Commentar. l. 6. p. 141. (r) Vid. Universal History, vol. 1. p. 79. (s) ', &c. Hesiod. Theogonia. (t) &c. Aristophanes in Avibus. (u) Hymn. 2. ver. 2.((v) Ian Taylor, p. 360-362, "In the Minds of Men", 1984, TEV Publishing, P.O. Box 5015, Stn. F, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2T1.
6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,.... On which the Spirit of God was sitting and moving, Genesis 1:2 part of which were formed into clouds, and drawn up into heaven by the force of the body of fire and light already produced; and the other part left on the earth, not yet gathered into one place, as afterwards: between these God ordered a "firmament to be", or an "expanse" (v); something stretched out and spread like a curtain, tent, or canopy: and to this all those passages of Scripture refer, which speak of the stretching out of the heavens, as this firmament or expanse is afterwards called; seePsa 104:2 and by it is meant the air, as it is rendered by the Targum on Psalm 19:1 we call it the "firmament" from the (w) word which the Greek interpreter uses, because it is firm, lasting, and durable: and it has the name of an expanse from its wide extent, it reaching from the earth to the third heaven; the lower and thicker parts of it form the atmosphere in which we breathe; the higher and thinner parts of it, the air in which fowls fly, and the ether or sky in which the sun, moon, and stars are placed; for all these are said to be in the firmament or expanse, Genesis 1:17. These are the stories in the heavens the Scriptures speak of, Amos 9:6 and the air is divided by philosophers into higher, middle, and lower regions: and so the Targum of Jonathan places this firmament or expanse between the extremities of the heaven, and the waters of the ocean. The word in the Syriac language has the sense of binding and compressing (x); and so it is used in the Syriac version of Luke 6:38 and may denote the power of the air when formed in compressing the chaos, and dividing and separating the parts of it; and which it now has in compressing the earth, and the several parts that are in it, and by its compression preserves them and retains them in their proper places (y):
and let it divide the waters from the waters; the waters under it from those above it, as it is explained in the next verse; of which more there.
(v) "expansio", Montanus. Tigurine version; "extensio", Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, Aben Ezra; "expansum", Junius, Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Schmidt, Sept. "firmamentum", V. L. (w) Id. (x) Vid. Castell. Lex. col. 3647. Fuller. Miscell. Sacr. l. 1. c. 6. (y) Vid. Dickinson. Physica "vetus et vera", c. 7. sect. 13, 14. p. 88, 89.
7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God made the firmament,.... By a word speaking, commanding it into being, producing it out of the chaos, and spreading it in that vast space between the heaven of heavens and our earth (z),
And divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; the lower part of it, the atmosphere above, which are the clouds full of water, from whence rain descends upon the earth; and which divided between them and those that were left on the earth, and so under it, not yet gathered into one place; as it now does between the clouds of heaven and the waters of the sea. Though Mr. Gregory (a) is of opinion, that an abyss of waters above the most supreme orb is here meant; or a great deep between the heavens and the heaven of heavens, where, as in storehouses, the depth is laid up; and God has his treasures of snow, hail, and rain, and from whence he brought out the waters which drowned the world at the universal deluge. Others suppose the waters above to be the crystalline heaven, which for its clearness resembles water; and which Milton (b) calls the "crystalline ocean",
And it was so: the firmament was accordingly made, and answered this purpose, to divide the waters below it from those above it; or "it was firm" (c), stable and durable; and so it has continued.
(z) ------and God made The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Transparent, elemental air, diffused In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round.------ Milton, Paradise Lost, B. 7. l. 263, &c. (a) Notes and Observations, &c. c. 23. p. 110, &c. (b) Ibid. l. 291. (c) "et factum est firmum", Fagius & Nachmanides in ib.
8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God called the firmament heaven,.... Including the starry and airy heavens: it has its name from its height in the Arabic language, it being above the earth, and reaching to the third heaven; though others take the word "shamaim" to be a compound of two words, "sham" and "maim", that is, there are waters, namely, in the clouds of heaven:
and the evening; and the morning were the second day; these together made up the space of twenty four hours, which was another natural day; the body of light, created on the first day, having again moved round the chaos in that space of time; or else the chaos had turned round on its own axis in that time, which revolution produced a second day; and which, according to Capellus, was the nineteenth of April, and according to Bishop Usher the twenty fourth of October. It is an observation that everyone may make, that the phrase,
and God saw that it was good, is not used at the close of this day's work, as of the rest: the reason some Jewish writers give is, because the angels fell on this day; but it is a much better which Jarchi gives, and that is, because the work of the waters was not finished; it was begun on the second day, and perfected on the third (d); and therefore the phrase is twice used in the account of the third day's work: the Septuagint version adds it here indeed, but without any foundation.
(d) Vid. Maimon. Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 30.
9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place,.... Which are before called the waters under the firmament; and which were either on the surface of the earth, or in the bowels of it, or mixed with it, which by the compressure of the expanse or air were separated from it and these, by apertures and channels made, were caused to flow as by a straight line, as the word (e) used signifies, unto the decreed place that was broke up for them, the great hollow or channel which now contains the waters of the ocean: this was done by the word of the Lord, at his rebuke; and when it seems there was a clap thunder, and perhaps an earthquake, which made the vast cavity for the sea, as well as threw up the hills and mountains, and made the valleys; seeJob 38:10,
and let the dry land appear: clear of the waters, dried by the expanded air, hardened by the fiery light, and as yet without any herb or tree upon it:
and it was so; immediately done, the waters were drained off the earth, directed to their proper channels, and caused to run as by line to their appointed place; and the solid parts of the earth became dry, and appeared in sight.
(e) "congregentur tanquam ad amussim et regulam", Fagius; "recto et equabili cursu contendant et collineant", Junius.
10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And God called the dry land earth,.... The whole chaos, that was a turbid fluid, a mixture of earth and water, a rude unformed mass of matter, was called earth before; but now that part of the terraqueous globe, which was separated from the waters, and they from it, is called "earth": which has its name in the Arabic language from its being low and depressed; the lighter parts having been elevated, and moved upwards, and formed the atmosphere; the grosser parts subsiding and falling downwards, made the earth, which is low with respect to the firmament, which has its name in the same language from its height (f), as before observed,
And the gathering together of the waters called he seas; for though there was but one place into which they were collected, and which is the main ocean, with which all other waters have a communication, and so are one; yet there are divers seas, as the Red sea, the Mediterranean, Caspian, Baltic, &c. or which are denominated from the shores they wash, as the German, British, &c. and even lakes and pools of water are called seas, as the sea of Galilee and Tiberias, which was no other than the lake of Gennesaret,
And God saw that it was good; that these two should be separate, that the waters should be in one place, and the dry land appear, and both have the names he gave them: and this is here mentioned, because now the affair of the waters, the division aud separation of them, were brought to an end, and to perfection: but because this phrase is here used, and not at the mention of the second day, hence Picherellus, and some others, have thought, that this work is to be ascribed to the second day, and not to the third, and render the beginning of the ninth verse, and "God had said", or "after God had said, let the waters under the heaven", &c. Genesis 1:9.
(f) "a verbo", "sublimis, elatus, altus fuit"; "lingua Arabica, humilis, depressus fuit significat", Bottinger. Thesaur, Philolog. l. 1. c. 2. sect. 6. p. 234.
11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And God said, let the earth bring forth grass,.... Which had been impregnated by the Spirit of God that moved upon it when a fluid; and though now become dry land, it retained sufficient moisture in it, and was juicy and fit to produce vegetables; and especially as it had the advantage of the expanded air about it, and the warmth of the primordial light or fire; though all this would have been insufficient to produce plants and trees at full growth, with their seed in them, and fruit on them, without the interposition of almighty power: this seems to intend the germination or budding out of the tender grass, and the numerous spires of it which cover the earth, and by their verdure and greenness give it a delightful aspect, as well as afford food for the creatures:
the herb yielding seed; this is distinct from the former; that denotes herbage in general, which grows up of itself without being sown or manured, and is the food of beasts; this in particular, herbs and plants for the use of man, which yield a seed which either falling from it sows itself again, or is taken from it and sown on purpose to reproduce it, being useful or delightful:
and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind; as apples, pears, plums, apricots, nectars, peaches, oranges, lemons, &c,
whose seed is in itself upon the earth; each of which produce a seed according to the nature of them, which being sown produce the like, and so there is a continuance of them upon the earth:
and it was so; as God commanded it should, as appears from the following verse.
12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And the earth brought forth grass,.... In great abundance at once; the hills and vales were clothed with it, and so a rich provision was made the beasts and cattle of the earth two or three days before they were created:
and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself after his kind: wholesome and healthful herbs and plants, and delicious fruit to be meat and food for man, ready prepared for him when created; see Genesis 1:29 on this day, though after related, were made the garden of Eden, and all the trees in it, pleasant for sight, and good for food; and particularly the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
and God saw that it was good; which he had now caused to spring forth, grass, herbs, and fruit trees, which were good for men and beast, and this he foresaw would be so; See Gill on Genesis 1:4.
13And the evening and the morning were the third day.
And the evening and the morning were the third day. The space of twenty four hours ran out, and were measured, either by the rotation of the body of light and heat around the earth, or of the earth upon its axis: and this was according to Capellus the twentieth day of April, and, according to Bishop Usher, the twenty fifth of October; though those who suppose the world was created in autumn make the first day to be the first of September, and so this must be the third of that month; the Jews are divided about the season of the creation; some say Nisan or March, others Tisri or September (g).
(g) Vid. T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 11. 1.
14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven,.... In the upper part of it, commonly called the starry heaven: some writers, both Jewish and Christian, and even modern astronomers, understand this only of the appearance of them, and not of the formation of them; they suppose they were made on the first day, but did not appear or shine out so clearly and visibly as now on the fourth day: but it seems rather, that the body of fire and light produced on the first day was now distributed and formed into several luminous bodies of sun, moon, and stars, for these were "from light"; lights produced from that light, or made out of it; or were instruments of communicating and letting down that light upon the earth (h), which was collected and put together in them, especially in the sun: and the uses of them wero divide the day from the night; which is the peculiar use of the sun, which by its appearance and continuance makes the day, and by withdrawing itself, or not appearing for a certain time, makes the night; as the light by its circular motion did for the first three days, or the diurnal motion of the earth on its axis, then and now:
and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; for "signs" of good and bad weather; for the times of ploughing, sowing, reaping, &c. and for the "seasons" of summer and winter, spring and autumn; for "days" by a circular motion for the space of twenty four hours; and for "years" by annual motion for the space of three hundred sixty five days and odd hours. The Targum of Jonathan is,
and let them be for signs and the times of the feasts, and to reckon with them the number of days, and, sanctify the beginnings of the months, and the beginnings of the years, and the intercalations of months and years, the revolutions of the sun, and the new moons, and cycles. And so Jarchi interprets "seasons" of the solemn festivals, that would hereafter be commanded the children of Israel; but those uses were not for a certain people, and for a certain time, but for all mankind, as long as the world should stand.
(h) "significat lucem illam primam per sese lucentem"; "vero corpus per quod lux illa prima splendorem suum demittit". Nachmanides, apud Fagium in loc.
15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven,.... To continue there as luminous bodies; as enlighteners, as the word signifies, causing light, or as being the instruments of conveying it, particularly to the earth, as follows:
to give light upon the earth; and the inhabitants of it, when formed:
and it was so: these lights were formed and placed in the firmament of the heaven for such uses, and served such purposes as God willed and ordered they should.
16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
And God made two great lights,.... This was his own work which he himself did, and not by another; and may be particularly observed to express the folly of idolaters in worshipping these luminaries which were the creations of God, and were placed by him in the heaven to serve some purposes on earth beneficial to men, but not to be worshipped. These two "great lights" are the sun and the moon; and they may well be called great, especially the former, for the diameter of the sun is reckoned to be about eight hundred thousand miles. According to Mr. Derham (i) its apparent diameter is computed at 822,145 English miles, its ambit at 2,582,873 miles, and its solid contents at 290,971,000,000,000,000: the lowest account makes the sun a hundred thousand times bigger than the earth; and according to Sir Isaac Newton it is 900,000 bigger. The moon's diameter is to that of the earth is about twenty seven per cent, or 2175 miles, its surface contains fourteen hundred thousand square miles (k): it is called great, not on account of its corporeal quantity, for it is the least of all the planets excepting Mercury, but because of its quality, as a light, it reflecting more light upon the earth than any besides the sun,
The greater light to rule the day: not to rule men, though the heathens have worshipped it under the names of Molech and Baal, which signify king and lord, as if it was their lord and king to whom they were to pay homage; but to rule the day, to preside over it, to make it, give light in it, and continue it to its proper length; and in which it rules alone, the moon, nor any of the other planets then appearing: this is called the "greater" light, in comparison of the moon, not only with respect to its body or substance, but on account of its light, which is far greater and stronger than that of the moon; and which indeed receives its light from it, the moon being, as is generally said, an opaque body:
and the lesser light to rule the night; to give light then, though in a fainter, dimmer way, by reflecting it from the sun; and it rules alone, the sun being absent from the earth, and is of great use to travellers and sailors; it is called the lesser light, in comparison of the sun. Astronomers are of opinion, as Calmet (l) observes, that it is about fifty two times smaller than the earth, and four thousand one hundred and fifty times smaller than the sun; but these proportions are otherwise determined by the generality of modern astronomers: however, they all agree that the moon is abundantly less than the sun; and that it is as a light, we all know,
He made the stars also; to rule by night, Psalm 136:9 not only the planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, but the vast numbers of stars with which the heavens are bespangled, and which reflect some degree of light upon the earth; with the several constellations, some of which the Scriptures speak of, as Arcturus, Orion, Pleiades, and the chambers of the south, Job 9:9, Job 38:31 though some restrain this to the five planets only. Ed. Contrast the foolishness of modern cosmology with the writings of the early church father, Theophilus when he states (j):
On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth came from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it.''
(i) Astro-Theology, B. 1. c. 2. & B. 6. c. 2.((j) Cited from Impact 251. ICR "Acts and Facts" (May 1994); Theophilus, "To Autolycus" 2. 4, Oxford Early Christian Texts, as cited in Louis Lavalle, "The Early Church Defended Creation Science" Impact 160. ICR "Acts and Facts" (October 1986): ii.((k) Chambers's Dictionary in the word "Moon". (l) Dictionary in the word "Moon".
17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
And God set them in the firmament of the heaven,.... He not only ordered that there they should be, and made them that there they might be, but he placed them there with his own hands; and they are placed, particularly the sun, at such a particular distance as to be beneficial and not hurtful: had it been set nearer to the earth, its heat would have been intolerable; and had it been further off it would have been of no use; in the one case we should have been scorched with its heat, and in the other been frozen up for the want of it. The various expressions used seem to be designed on purpose to guard against and expose the vanity of the worship of the sun and moon; which being visible, and of such great influence and usefulness to the earth, were the first the Heathens paid adoration to, and was as early as the times of Job, Job 31:26 and yet these were but creatures made by God, his servants and agents under him, and therefore to worship them was to serve the creature besides the Creator,
To give light upon the earth; this is repeated from Genesis 1:15 to show the end for which they were made, and set up, and the use they were to be of to the earth; being hung up like so many lamps or chandeliers, to contain and send forth light unto the earth, to the inhabitants of it, that they may see to walk and work by, and do all the business of life, as well as be warmed and comforted thereby, and the earth made fertile to bring forth its precious fruits for the use of creatures in it: and it is marvellous that such light should be emitted from the sun, when it is at such a vast distance from the earth, and should reach it in so short a space. A modern astronomer (m) observes, that a bullet discharged from a cannon would be near twenty five years, before it could finish its journey from the sun to the earth: and yet the rays of light reach the earth in seven minutes and a half, and are said to pass ten millions of miles in a minute.
(m) Huygen. Cosmotheoros. l. 2. p. 125.
18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
And to rule over the day, and over the night,.... The one, namely the sun, or greater light, to rule over the day, and the moon and stars, the lesser lights, to rule over the night: this is repeated from Genesis 1:16 to show the certainty of it, and that the proper uses of these lights might be observed, and that a just value might be put upon them, but not carried beyond due bounds:
and to divide the light from the darkness; as the day from the night, which is done by the sun, Genesis 1:14 and to dissipate and scatter the darkness of the night, and give some degree of light, though in a more feeble manner, which is done by the moon and stars:
and God saw that it was good; or foresaw it would be, that there should be such lights in the heaven, which would be exceeding beneficial to the inhabitants of the earth, as they find by good experience it is, and therefore have great reason to be thankful, and to adore the wisdom and goodness of God; see Psalm 136:1. See Gill on Genesis 1:4.
19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Made by the rotation of the earth on its own axis, in the space of twenty four hours: this according to Capellus was the twenty first of April, and according to Bishop Usher the twenty sixth of October; or, as others, the fourth of September: and thus, as on the fourth day of the creation the sun was made, or appeared, so in the fourth millennium the sun of righteousness arose on our earth.
20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God said, let the waters bring forth abundantly,.... The waters gathered together in one place, the waters of the ocean, and those in rivers, pools and lakes, and which, before their collection into those places, had been sat on, moved, and impregnated by the Spirit of God; so that they could, as they did, by the divine order accompanied with his power, bring forth abundance of creatures, next mentioned:
the moving creature that hath life: an animal life, of which sort of creatures as yet there had been none made; vegetables, or such as have a vegetative life, were made on the third day; but those that have a sensitive and animal life not till this day, the fifth; and the less perfect, or lower sort of these, were first produced, even such as move or "creep" (n), as the word used signifies; which is applied to fishes as well as creeping things, because in swimming their bellies touch the water, and are close to it, as reptiles on the earth: and of these creeping things in the seas there are innumerable, as the Psalmist says, Psalm 104:25. Pliny (o) reckons up an hundred and seventy six kinds of fishes, which he puts in an alphabetical order:
and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven; which according to our version were to be produced out of the waters also; not out of mere water, but out of earth and water mixed together, or out of the earth or clay (p) that lay at the bottom of the waters: and it may be observed of some fowls, that they live on the waters, and others partly on land and partly on water; and as the elements of fowl and fish, the air and water, bear a resemblance to each other, so do these creatures, some fowls both fly and swim; and what wings are to the one, fins are to the other; and both steer their course by their tails, and are both oviparous: though it should seem, according to Genesis 2:19, that the fowls were produced from the earth, and the words may be rendered here, "let the fowl fly above the earth", &c. as they are in the Samaritan and Syriac versions, and in others (q).
(n) "reptile", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "reptilia", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (o) Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 11. (p) Vid. T. Bab. Cholin. fol. 27. 2.((q) "et volatile volet", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Amama, "et volatile volitet", Tigurine version; "et volucres volent", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "et aves volent", Drusius; "et volucris volet", Cartwrightus; "et avis volitet", Schmidt.
21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God created great whales,.... Which the Targums of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret of the Leviathan and its mate, concerning which the Jews have many fabulous things: large fishes are undoubtedly meant, and the whale being of the largest sort, the word is so rendered. Aelianus, from various writers, relates many things of the extraordinary size of whales; of one in the Indian sea five times bigger than the largest elephant, one of its ribs being twenty cubits (r); from Theocles, of one that was larger than a galley with three oars (s); and from Onesicritus and Orthagoras, of one that was half a furlong in length (t); and Pliny (u) speaks of one sort called the "balaena", and of one of them in the Indian sea, that took up four aces of land, and so Solinus (w); and from Juba, he relates there were whales that were six hundred feet in length, and three hundred sixty in breadth (x) but whales in common are but about fifty, seventy, eighty, or at most one hundred feet. Some interpret these of crocodiles, see Ezekiel 29:3 some of which are twenty, some thirty, and some have been said to be an hundred feet long (y) The word is sometimes used of dragons, and, if it has this sense here, must be meant of dragons in the sea, or sea serpents, leviathan the piercing serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent, Isaiah 27:1 so the Jews (z); and such as the bishop of Bergen (a) speaks of as in the northern seas of a hundred fathom long, or six hundred English feet; and who also gives an account of a sea monster of an enormous and incredible size, that sometimes appears like an island at a great distance, called "Kraken" (b); now because creatures of such a prodigious size were formed out of the waters, which seemed so very unfit to produce them; therefore the same word is here made use of, as is in the creation of the heaven and the earth out of nothing, Genesis 1:1 because this production, though not out of nothing, yet was an extraordinary instance of almighty power,
And every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind; that is, every living creature that swims in the waters of the great sea, or in rivers, whose kinds are many, and their numbers not to be reckoned; see Gill on Genesis 1:20.
and every winged fowl after his kind; every fowl, and the various sorts of them that fly in the air; these were all created by God, or produced out of the water and out of the earth by his wonderful power:
and God saw that it was good; or foresaw that those creatures he made in the waters and in the air would serve to display the glory of his perfections, and be very useful and beneficial to man, he designed to create. (Some of the creatures described by the ancients must refer to animals that are now extinct. Some of these may have been very large dinasours. Ed.)
(r) Hist. Animal. l. 16. c. 12. (s) Ib. l. 17. c. 6. (t) Ibid. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 9. c. 3.((w) Polyhistor. c. 65. (x) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 1.((y) See Thevenot's Travels, par. 1. c. 72. p. 246. Harris's Voyages, &c. vol. 1. p. 287, 485, 759. (z) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 74. 2.((a) History of Norway, p. 199. (b) Ibid. p. 210, &c.
22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
And God blessed them,.... With a power to procreate their kind, and continue their species, as it is interpreted in the next clause,
saying, be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas: and these creatures do multiply exceedingly, and vast quantities there are of them in the mighty waters, though the consumption of some sorts of them is very great. Our English word "fish" is derived from the Hebrew word "fush", which signifies to multiply and increase:
and let fowl multiply in the earth; as they did, and continue to do to this day.
23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. The sun now in the firmament, where it was fixed the day before, having gone round the earth, or the earth about that, in the space of twenty four hours; and according to Capellus this was the twenty second of April; or, as others, the fifth of September; and according to Bishop Usher the twenty seventh of October.
24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind,.... All sorts of living creatures that live and move upon the earth; not that the earth was endued with a power to produce these creatures of itself, without the interposition of God: for though it might be impregnated with a quickening virtue by the Spirit of God, which moved on it whilst a fluid, and had been prepared and disposed for such a production by the heat of the body of light created on the first day, and of the sun on the fourth; yet no doubt it was by the power of God accompanying his word, that these creatures were produced of the earth, and formed into their several shapes. The Heathens had some traditionary notion of this affair: according to the Egyptians, whose sentiments Diodorus Siculus (c) seems to give us, the process was thus carried on; the earth being stiffened by the rays of the sun, and the moist matter being made fruitful by the genial heat, at night received nourishment by the mist which fell from the ambient air; and in the day was consolidated by the heat of the sun, till at length the enclosed foetus having arrived to a perfect increase, and the membranes burnt and burst, creatures of all kinds appeared; of whom those that had got a greater degree of heat went upwards, and became flying fowl; those that were endued with an earthly concretion were reckoned in the class or order of reptiles, and other terrestrial animals; and those that chiefly partook of a moist or watery nature, ran to the place of a like kind, and were called swimmers or fish. This is the account they give; and somewhat like is that which Archelaus, the master of Socrates, delivers as his notion, that animals were produced out of slime, through the heat of the earth liquefying the slime like milk for food (d): and Zeno the Stoic says (e), the grosser part of the watery matter of the world made the earth, the thinner part the air, and that still more subtilized, the fire; and then out of the mixture of these proceeded plants and animals, and all the other kinds; but all this they seem to suppose to be done by the mere efforts of nature; whereas Moses here most truly ascribes their production to the all powerful Word of God:
cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind; the living creatures produced out of the earth are distinguished into three sorts; "cattle", which seem to design tame cattle, and such as are for the use of man, either for carriage, food, or clothing, as horses, asses, camels, oxen, sheep, &c. and "creeping" things, which are different from the creeping things in the sea before mentioned, are such as either have no feet, and go upon their bellies, or are very short, and seem to do so, whether greater or lesser, as serpents, worms, ants, &c,
and the beast of the earth seems to design wild beasts, such as lions, bears, wolves, &c,
and it was so; such creatures were immediately produced.
(c) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 7. (d) Laert. in Vita Archelai, p. 99. (e) Ib. in Vita Zenonis, p. 524.
25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind,.... The wild beasts, and the several sorts of them; beginning the account with the last mentioned, as is frequent in the Hebrew language, and so he made all the rest:
and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind; tame creatures, and all the reptiles of the earth: this most clearly shows and proves that the above creatures were not produced by the mere force of nature, or the powers the earth were possessed of, however the matter of it might be disposed and prepared, but by the omnipotent hand of God:
and God saw that it was good; that every creature he had made would some way or other be for his glory, and for the benefit of man. Picherellus thinks that all this belongs to the work of the fifth day, not the sixth; because as the vegetables, herbs, and trees were produced on the same day, the third day; so animals, whether in the waters, air, or earth, were made on one and the same day; and that it was proper a separate day should be allotted for the formation of rational creatures, Adam and Eve, and that it might appear that the same blessing was not conferred on brutes as on reasonable beings; and therefore the words with which Genesis 1:24 begins should be rendered, "but after God had said, let the earth", &c. that is, after God had ordered this, and it was done, then "the evening and the morning were the fifth day"; which is what rhetoricians call an "hysteron proteron".
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness,.... These words are directed not to the earth, out of which man was made, as consulting with it, and to be assisting in the formation of man, as Moses Gerundensis, and other Jewish writers (f), which is wretchedly stupid; nor to the angels, as the Targum of Jonathan, Jarchi, and others, who are not of God's privy council, nor were concerned in any part of the creation, and much less in the more noble part of it: nor are the words spoken after the manner of kings, as Saadiah, using the plural number as expressive of honour and majesty; since such a way of speaking did not obtain very early, not even till the close of the Old Testament: but they are spoken by God the Father to the Son and Holy Ghost, who were each of them concerned in the creation of all things, and particularly of man: hence we read of divine Creators and Makers in the plural number, Job 35:10 and Philo the Jew acknowledges that these words declare a plurality, and are expressive of others, being co-workers with God in creation (g): and man being the principal part of the creation, and for the sake of whom the world, and all things in it were made, and which being finished, he is introduced into it as into an house ready prepared and furnished for him; a consultation is held among the divine Persons about the formation of him; not because of any difficulty attending it, but as expressive of his honour and dignity; it being proposed he should be made not in the likeness of any of the creatures already made, but as near as could be in the likeness and image of God. The Jews sometimes say, that Adam and Eve were created in the likeness of the holy blessed God, and his Shechinah (h); and they also speak (i) of Adam Kadmon the ancient Adam, as the cause of causes, of whom it is said, "I was as one brought up with him (or an artificer with him), Proverbs 8:30 and to this ancient Adam he said, "let us make man in our image, after our likeness": and again, "let us make man"; to whom did he say this? the cause of causes said to "`jod', he, `vau', he"; that is, to Jehovah, which is in the midst of the ten numerations. What are the ten numerations? "`aleph', he, `jod', he", that is, "I am that I am, Exodus 3:14 and he that says let us make, is Jehovah; I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God: and three jods testify concerning him, that there is none above him, nor any below him, but he is in the middle:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air; that is, to catch them, and eat them; though in the after grant of food to man, no mention as yet is made of any other meat than the herbs and fruits of the earth; yet what can this dominion over fish and fowl signify, unless it be a power to feed upon them? It may be observed, that the plural number is used, "let them", which shows that the name "man" is general in the preceding clause, and includes male and female, as we find by the following verse man was created:
and over the cattle, and over all the earth; over the tame creatures, either for food, or clothing, or carriage, or for all of them, some of them for one thing, and some for another; and over all the wild beasts of the earth, which seem to be meant by the phrase, "over all the earth"; that is, over all the beasts of the earth, as appears by comparing it with Genesis 1:24 so as to keep them in awe, and keep them off from doing them any damage:
and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; to make use of it as should seem convenient for them.
(f) Vet. Nizzachon, p. 5. Lipman. Carmen Memorial. p. 108. apud Wagenseil. Tela ignea, vol. 1.((g) De confusione Ling. p. 344. De Profugis, p. 460. De Opificio, p. 16. (h) Tikkune Zohar, correct. 64. fol. 98. 2.((i) Ibid. correct. 70. fol. 119. 1.
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
So God created man in his own image,.... Which consisted both in the form of his body, and the erect stature of it, different from all other creatures; in agreement with the idea of that body, prepared in covenant for the Son of God, and which it was therein agreed he should assume in the fulness of time; and in the immortality of his soul, and in his intellectual powers, and in that purity, holiness, and righteousness in which he was created; as well as in his dominion, power, and authority over the creatures, in which he was as God's viceregent, and resembled him. The Jerusalem Targum is,
the Word of the Lord created man in his likeness; even that Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God, and in time became incarnate, by whom all things were made, John 1:1.
in the image of God created he him; which is repeated for the certainty of it, and that it might be taken notice of, as showing man's superior glory and dignity to the rest of the creatures, 1 Corinthians 11:7.
male and female created he them; not that man was created an hermaphrodite, or with two bodies, back to back united together, and afterwards cleaved asunder, as the Jews fabulously say; but first God made man, or the male, out of the dust of the earth, and infused a rational soul into him; and then out of one of his ribs made a female, or woman, who was presented to him as his wife, that so their species might be propagated; and only one male and one female were created, to show that hereafter a man was to have at a time no more wives than one; see Malachi 2:15 for all that is said in the following chapter, concerning the formation of man out of the dust of the earth, and the making of woman out of his rib, and presenting her to him, and his taking her to be his wife, were all done on this sixth day, and at this time. It is a tradition among the Heathens, that man was made last of all the creatures; so says Plato (k); and this notion the Chinese also have (l). The Jews give these reasons why man was made on the evening of the sabbath, to show that he did not assist in the work of creation; and that if he was elated in his mind, it might be told him that a fly was created before him, and that he might immediately enter on the command, i.e. of the sabbath (m).
(k) Protagor. p. 320, 321. (l) Martin. Sinic. Hist. l. 1. p. 4. (m) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 38. 1.
28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God blessed them,.... The man and the woman he had made, with all the blessings of nature and Providence; with all the good things of life; with his presence, and with communion with himself in a natural way, through the creatures; and particularly with a power of procreating their species, as follows,
and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth: if this is not an express command, as the Jews understand it, for marriage and procreation of children, it seems to be more than a bare permission; at least it is a direction and an advice to what was proper and convenient for the increase of mankind, and for the filling of the earth with inhabitants, which was the end of its being made, Isaiah 45:18. This shows that marriage is an ordinance of God, instituted in paradise, and is honourable; and that procreation is a natural action, and might have been, and may be performed without sin,
and subdue it; the earth; not that it was in the hands of others, who had no right to it, and to be conquered and taken out of their hands; but is to be understood of their taking possession, and making use of it; of their tilling the land, and making it subservient to their use:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the face of the earth; which was giving them an universal and unlimited dominion over all the creatures; of which see an enumeration in Psalm 8:6.
29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And God said,.... That is, to Adam and Eve, whom he had made in his image and likeness, and to whom he had given the dominion of the earth and sea, and all things in them:
behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth; every herb or plant which had a seed in it, by which it sowed itself again; or being taken off, might be sown by man, even everyone that was wholesome, healthful, and nourishing, without any exception; whatever grew in any part of the earth, be it where it would:
and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; all but the tree of knowledge, of good and evil, afterwards excepted; and both these take in all kind of vegetables, all herbs, plants, roots, even corn, wheat, barley, pease, beans, &c. and the various fruits of all sorts of trees, but that before mentioned:
to you it shall be for meat: which is generally thought to be the food of the antediluvians (n), it not being proper, at least very soon, to kill any of the animals, until they were multiplied and increased, lest their species should be destroyed; though here is no prohibition of eating flesh; nor is it said that this only should be for meat, which is before mentioned; and by the early employment of some in keeping sheep, and by the sacrifice of creatures immediately after the fall, part of which used to be eaten by the offerers; and by the distinction of clean and unclean creatures before the flood, it looks probable that flesh might be eaten: and Bochart (o) refers this clause to what goes before in the preceding verse, as well as to what is in this, and takes the sense to be, that the fishes of the sea, and fowls of the air, and every living creature man had dominion over, as well as herbs and fruits, were given him for his food: but the Jews (p) are of opinion, that the first man might not eat flesh, but it was granted to the sons of Noah. (From Romans 5:12 there was no death before Adam's sin, hence up until at least the fall, man did not eat meat. Ed.) (n) "Panis erant primus virides Mortalibus Herbae", Ovid. Fast. l. 4. (o) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 1. c. 2. col. 11. (p) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 59. 2.
30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
And to every beast of the earth,.... Wild or tame, the cattle on a thousand hills; God took care and provided for these, being all his creatures, and designed to answer some end or other by their creation:
and to every fowl of the air; that flies in it,
and to every creeping thing upon the earth; even the meanest and lowest insect:
wherein there is life; or "a living soul"; that has an animal life, which is to be supported by food:
I have given every green herb for meat; the leaves for some, and seed for others; and here is no mention made of flesh; and perhaps those creatures which are now carnivorous were not so at their first creation:
and it was so; every creature, both man and beast, had food suitable to their nature and appetite, and a sufficiency of it. (From Romans 5:12, it is certain that up until the fall no animal ate other animals, otherwise there would have been death before Adam's first sin, which is said to be the cause of death. Ed.)
31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
And God saw everything that he had made,.... Either all that he had made on the several six days of the creation, he took a survey of them, looked over them again, as workmen do when they have finished their work, to see if anything is amiss or wanting; not that anything of this nature can be supposed in the works of God, but such a survey is attributed to him after the manner of men, to show the completeness of his works, and the excellency of them. Picherellus (q) limits this to what had been done on this day, with respect to man, who alone, as he thinks, was the subject of this day's work; and so it respects the creation of man after the image and likeness of God; the forming of the woman out of his rib, and so providing a suitable helper for him; giving them dominion over all the creatures, and suitable food for the support of the animal life; and God reflected on this, and foresaw it would be good in the issue, as it was in itself,
And behold, it was very good; it had been said of everything else, at the close of each day's work, excepting the second, that it was good; but here the expression is stronger upon the creation of man, the chief and principal work of God, that it was "very good"; he being made upright and holy, bearing the image of his Creator upon him, and in such circumstances as to be happy and comfortable himself, and to glorify God: the phrase may be expressive not only of the goodness of everything God had made, as it was in itself, and in its use; but of his complacency, and delight therein, every thing being made for himself and for, his pleasure, Revelation 4:11.
and the evening and the morning were the sixth day; by that time all these works on this day were finished; the sun had gone round the earth, or the earth about that, for the space of twenty four hours, which completed the sixth day, within which term of time God had determined to finish all his works, as he did. This day, according to Capellus, was the twenty third of April, and, according, to Archbishop Usher, the twenty eighth of October, or, as others, the sixth of September. Mr. Whiston, as has been before observed, is of opinion, that the six days of the creation were equal to six years: and the Persians have a tradition, which they pretend to have received from Zoroastres, that God created the world, not in six natural days, but in six times or spaces of different length, called in their tongue "Ghahan barha". The first of these spaces, in which the heavens were created, was a space of forty five days; the second, in which the waters were created, sixty days; the third, in which the earth was created, seventy five days; the fourth, in which grass and trees were created, thirty days; the fifth, in which all creatures were made, eighty days; the sixth, in which man was created, seventy five days; in all three hundred sixty five days, or a full year (r). The first of the six principal good works they are taught to do is to observe the times of the creation (s). And the ancient Tuscans or Etrurians allot six thousand years to the creation; the order of which, with them, is much the same with the Mosaic account, only making a day a thousand years: in the first thousand, they say, God made the heaven and the earth; in the next, the firmament, which appears to us, calling it heaven; in the third, the sea, and all the waters that are in the earth; in the fourth, the great lights, the sun and moon, and also the stars; in the fifth, every volatile, reptile, and four footed animal, in the air, earth and water, (which agrees with Picherellus); see Gill on Genesis 1:25, and in the sixth, man; and whereas they say God employed twelve thousand years in all his creation, and the first six being passed at the creation of man, it seems, according to them, that mankind are to continue for the other six thousand years (t). And it is a notion that obtains among the Jews, that, answerable to the six days of creation, the world will continue six thousand years. It is a tradition of Elias (u), an ancient Jewish doctor, that
"the world shall stand six thousand years, two thousand void, two thousand under the law, and two thousand, the days of the Messiah.''
And Baal Hatturim (w) observes, there are six "alephs" in the first verse of this chapter, answerable to the six thousand years the world is to continue: and R. Gedaliah says (x), at the end of the sixth millennium the world shall return without form and void, (to its former condition, "tohu" and "bohu",) and the whole shall be a sabbath: and very particular is another writer (y) of theirs concerning these six days of the creation, who having spoken of the day of judgment, the resurrection of the dead, and the world to come, observes, that the six days' work is an intimation and sign of these things: on the sixth day man was created, and the work was perfected on the seventh; so the kings of the nations shall be in the world five thousand years, answerable to the five days in which the fowls, and creeping things of the waters, and the rest, were created; and the holding of their kingdoms will be a little within the sixth millennium, answerable to the creation of cattle and beasts, who were now created on the beginning of it, the "sixth day"; and the kingdom of the house of David will be in the sixth millennium, answerable to the creation of man, who knew his Creator, and ruled over them all; and at the end of that millennium will be the day of judgment, answerable to man's being judged at the end of it, "the sixth day; and the seventh millennium will be the sabbath". And a like notion obtains among the Persian Magi; it is said that Zerdusht, or Zoroastres, was born in the middle age of the world, so it was told him from the age of Keiomaras (the first man) unto thy age are 3000 years, and from this thy age unto the resurrection are 3000 years (z).
(q) In Cosmopoeiam, p. 2841. (r) Hyde Hist. Relig. vet. Pers. p. 164, 166, 168, 483, 484. (s) Lib. Sad-der, port. 6. 94. apud Hyde, ib. p. 439, 483. (t) See Universal History, vol. 1. p. 64. (u) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1. Avoda Zara, fol. 9. 1.((w) Comment. in Gen. i. 1.((x) Shalshelet Hakabala, fol. 36. 1.((y) Comment. in Maimon. Hilch. Teshuva, c. 9. sect. 2.((z) Lib. Sad-der, port. 11. Vid. Hyde, ut supra, (Hist. Relig. vet. Pers. p. 481.)