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The Book of Genesis, Chapter 1

1  In the beginning[3] God[4] created[5] the heaven[7] and the earth[10] .

This chapter begins the first of two different creation stories. See Gen 2:4. It is interesting that the Bible often has different, and sometimes contradictory, stories about the same event or person.

The preposition translated "in" can also be translated, "when." The New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS) translates this verse: "When God began creating Heaven and Earth."

There is nothing inherent in re-shiyth:H7225 to indicate that other beginnings might not occur before or after this beginning.

Some believe that in this verse, bara':H1254 refers to creating things out of nothing (ex nihil) while others believe that the word refers to forming or organizing already existing material. The Hebrew word is always used in conjuction with God, but not always in reference to the Genesis creation (see Psa 51:10.)

The Hebrew word which is translated "God" in this chapter is 'elohiym:H4430, which is actually a plural noun. Many explanations have been offered why the word for God is plural, including:

1. The use of royal "we".
2. A remnant from early beliefs in many gods.
3. The word God is a collective noun, such as "family" or "nation."
4. The plural form adds emphasis.

[3] 'BEGINNING'

7225. re'shiyth, ray-sheeth'; from the same as H7218; the first, in place, time, order or rank (spec. a firstfruit):--beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.

[4] 'GOD'

430. 'elohiym, el-o-heem'; plur. of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but spec. used (in the plur. thus, esp. with the art.) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:--angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

[5] 'CREATED'

1254. bara', baw-raw'; a prim. root; (absol.) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes):--choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).

[7] 'HEAVEN'

8064. shamayim, shaw-mah'-yim; dual of an unused sing. shameh, shaw-meh'; from an unused root mean. to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the dual perh. alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve):--air, X astrologer, heaven (-s).

[10] 'EARTH'

H776. 'erets (see verse 25.)

2  And the earth[3] was without[5] form[6] , and void[8] ; and darkness[10] was upon the face[14] of the deep[17] . And the Spirit[20] of God[22] moved[23] upon the face[26] of the waters[29] .

In Hebrew, a word is repeated to provide emphasis. In this verse, the word tohuw:H8414 appears twice, emphasizing the desolation of the world at the beginning. A similar word, tehowm:H8415, is used for "deep."

"The Spirit of God" could also be translated as "the breath of God" or "the wind of God".

Hebrew poetry is based not on rhyme, but rather on repetition, often with a shift in emphasis or direction. Notice the two phrases "face of the deep" and "face of the waters". The Hebrew text often mixes poems and narratives. Poems can be very short, like this, or entire chapters, like the psalms.

The Hebrew word translated "move" conveys the image of a mother hovering or brooding over her young. Some scholars think that this is a remnant from pagan beliefs that the earth is the result of gods mating (see Gen 2:4.)

[3] 'EARTH'

776. 'erets, eh'-rets; from an unused root prob. mean. to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land):-- X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.

[5] 'WITHOUT'

8414. tohuw, to'-hoo; from an unused root mean. to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; fig. a worthless thing; adv. in vain:--confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness.

[6] 'FORM'

8414. tohuw, to'-hoo; from an unused root mean. to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; fig. a worthless thing; adv. in vain:--confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness.

[8] 'VOID'

922. bohuw, bo-hoo; from an unused root (mean. to be empty); a vacuity, i.e. (superficially) an undistinguishable ruin:--emptiness, void.

[10] 'DARKNESS'

2822. choshek, kho-shek'; from H2821; the dark; hence (lit.) darkness; fig. misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness:--dark (-ness), night, obscurity.

[14] 'FACE'

6440. paniym, paw-neem'; plur. (but always as sing.) of an unused noun [ paneh, paw-neh'; from H6437]; the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (lit. and fig.); also (with prep. pref.) as a prep. (before, etc.):-- + accept, a (be-) fore (-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront (-part), form (-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him (-self),
+ honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look [-eth] (-s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, prospect, was purposed, by reason, of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them (-selves), through (+ -out), till, time (-s) past, (un-) to (-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with (-in, + stand), X ye, X you.

[17] 'DEEP'

8415. tehowm, teh-home'; or tehom, teh-home'; (usually fem.) from H1949; an abyss (as a surging mass of water), espec. the deep (the main sea or the subterranean water-supply):--deep (place), depth.

[20] 'SPIRIT'

7307. ruwach, roo'-akh; from H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; fig. life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extens. a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (includ. its expression and functions):--air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

[22] 'GOD'

430. 'elohiym, el-o-heem'; plur. of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but spec. used (in the plur. thus, esp. with the art.) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:--angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

[23] 'MOVED'

7363. rachaph, raw-khaf'; a prim. root; to brood, by impl. to be relaxed:--flutter, move, shake.

[26] 'FACE'

6440. paniym, paw-neem'; plur. (but always as sing.) of an unused noun [ paneh, paw-neh'; from H6437]; the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (lit. and fig.); also (with prep. pref.) as a prep. (before, etc.):-- + accept, a (be-) fore (-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront (-part), form (-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him (-self),
+ honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look [-eth] (-s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, prospect, was purposed, by reason, of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them (-selves), through (+ -out), till, time (-s) past, (un-) to (-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with (-in, + stand), X ye, X you.

[29] 'WATERS'

4325. mayim, mah'-yim; dual of a prim. noun (but used in a sing. sense); water; fig. juice; by euphem. urine, semen:-- + piss, wasting, water (-ing, [-course, -flood, -spring]).

3  And God said, Let there be light[7] : and there was light[11] .

This verse begins a pattern which continues throughout most of this creation story. God speaks and things are created. After they are created, God notes that the creation is good. There are some variations, however, such as Gen 1:26.

Some question how God could create light before creating the stars. Others feel that the light could be the result of some initial cosmic reaction (e.g., the "Big Bang" theory). Still others read this verse as figurative, the light representing goodness and the dark representing evil. There are many ways to interpret sections of the Bible, and few ways to prove or disprove your views or the views of others. Perhaps this is one reason the Bible can be popular with people holding different beliefs.

There are two Hebrew words for speaking. The one used here is 'amar:H559, which refers to the act of speaking. The other Hebrew word is dabar:H1696, which can also be translated "word" or "thing."

[7] 'LIGHT'

216. 'owr, ore; from H215; illumination or (concr.) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.):--bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun.

215. 'owr, ore; a prim. root; to be (caus. make) luminous (lit. and metaph.):--X break of day, glorious, kindle, (be, en-, give, show) light (-en, -ened), set on fire, shine.

[11] 'LIGHT'

'owr:H216

4  And God saw the light, that it was good[9] : and God divided the light from the darkness.

The phrase "that it was good" appears throughout this chapter. There are actually only two Hebrew words here: "Ki Tov". Ki means "that" or "which", while Tov means "good." See Gen 3:6.

[9] 'GOOD'

2896. towb, tobe; from H2895; good (as an adj.) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masc. and the fem., the sing. and the plur. (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adv. (well):--beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, X fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, liest, -ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh (best), loving, merry, X most, pleasant, + pleas
eth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well ([-favoured]).

5  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The NJPS renders the last sentence as "And there was evening, and there was morning, a first day." The Lamsa and LXX translations are the same as the NJPS, except for the phrase "the first day" rather than "a first day."

6  And God said, Let there be a firmament[8] in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

The Hebrews thought of the sky as a solid surface that separated the waters above (rain) and the waters below (seas, oceans, etc.). The surface of the firmament was where the stars were located. The sun and the planets moved across the firmament. This is similar to the beliefs of many other ancient cultures, such as the Greeks and the Romans.

The Hebrew word raqiya':H7549, translated here as "firmament", is related to a word which could be used to describe some one using a hammer to beat metal into the form of a bowl.

[8] 'FIRMAMENT'

7549. raqiya', raw-kee'-ah; frm H7554; prop. an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky:--firmament.

7554. raqa', raw-kah'; a prim. root; to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); by impl. to overlay (with thin sheets of metal):--beat, make broad, spread abroad (forth, over, out, into plates), stamp, stretch.

7  And 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.

Verse 6 said to divide the waters from the waters. Here we are told how the waters were divided. This subtle shift may be another form of Hebrew poetry (see verse 2.) Scholars still argue over which portions of the Hebrew Bible are poetry and which are prose.

8  And God called the firmament Heaven[6] . And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The word for heaven is the same as used in Gen 1:1. The Lamsa translates this word "sky."

See also verse 5 for a discussion of "And the evening ..."

[6] 'HEAVEN'

shamayim:H8064. See verse 1.

9  And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry[19] land appear: and it was so.

God ('elohiym) creates the dry land. Apparently before this point, water covered the entire surface of the planet. Something is done to cause land to appear, and the waters receed into a smaller area than previously. Today two thirds of the earth's surface is covered with water.

A single Hebrew word is used for the English phrase "dry land." There are many cases where it requires several English word to properly translate a single Hebrew word.

[19] 'DRY'

3004. yabbashah, yab-baw-shaw'; from H3001; dry ground:--dry (ground, land).

10  And God called the dry[5] land Earth[7] ; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

[5] 'DRY'

H3004. yabbashah. See verse 9.

[7] 'EARTH'

The Hebrew word is 'erets:H776. See verses 1 and 20.

11  And God said, Let the earth bring[7] forth grass[9] , the herb yielding[12] seed[13] , and the fruit tree yielding[18] fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

Once dry land appears, 'elohiym creates various plant life to exist on the dry land.

The Hebrew word deshe':H1877 refers to fresh, tender grass shoots, such as that which comes forth at springtime. The Lamsa translation uses the word "vegetation" for grass.

Israel is a desert country, so a rain can transform a seemingly dead terrain into a lush garden.

Although the KJV translation has the English word "yielding" twice, the Hebrew is actually two different words. On the other hand, the KJV obscures the similarity between desha':H1876 and deshe':H1877, as well as zara':H2232 and zera':H2233.

[7] 'BRING'

1876. dasha', daw-shaw'; a prim. root; to sprout:--bring forth, spring.

[9] 'GRASS'

1877. deshe', deh'-sheh; from H1876; a sprout; by anal. grass:--(tender) grass, green, (tender) herb.

[12] 'YIELDING'

2232. zara', zaw-rah'; a prim. root; to sow; fig. to disseminate, plant, fructify:--bear, conceive seed, set with, sow (-er), yield.

[13] 'SEED'

2233. zera', zeh'-rah; from H2232; seed; fig. fruit, plant, sowing-time, posterity:-- X carnally, child, fruitful, seed (-time), sowing-time.

[18] 'YIELDING'

6213. 'asah, aw-saw'; a prim. root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application (as follows):--accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress (-ed), (put in) execute (-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, [fight-] ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfil, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ([a feast]), X indeed, + be indu
strious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, practise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be [warr-] ior, work (-man), yield, use.

12  And the earth brought[4] forth[5] 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.

In most of the previous passages: God said something, it happened, he saw it, and he saw that it was good. But here, what happened is recounted with minor variations. The earth was to sprout grass, but it bore grass (the KJV translated both as bring forth.) The second time explains that the seeds for fruit trees are within itself (the Lamsa and LXX translations have this phrase in verse 11.) There are other differences as well. (See verse 7.)

Some of these discrepancies could be due to scribal error or deliberate editing (redaction) of the text. For example, the phrase "after its kind" appears in the Lamsa and LXX translations, but not in the Masoretic (Hebrew) text of Gen. 1:11. This might be because some ancient redactor added the phrase to verse 11 of the text to make it conform to the pattern of verse 12, or that some scribe accidentally omitted it when copying verse 11, or that it always was different.

Some people object to the idea that the Bible underwent any editorial changes since the time the original prophet wrote the text. Others feel that the prophet didn't actually write the text, but that it was written by some public scribe. If written by a scribe, the story could have existed in oral form for many years before it was written down. Phrases such as "to this day" and "at that time" seem to indicate that some portions of the text are more recent than others (see Appendix A.)

[4] 'BROUGHT'

3318. yatsa', yaw-tsaw'; a prim. root; to go (causat. bring) out, in a great variety of applications, lit. and fig., direct and proxim.:-- X after, appear, X assuredly, bear out, X begotten, break out, bring forth (out, up), carry out, come (abroad, out, thereat, without), + be condemned, depart (-ing, -ure), draw forth, in the end, escape, exact, fail, fall (out), fetch forth (out), get away (forth, hence, out), (able to, cause to, let) go abroad (forth, on, out), going out, grow, have forth (out), issue
out, lay (lie) out, lead out, pluck out, proceed, pull out, put away, be risen, X scarce, send with commandment, shoot forth, spread, spring out, stand out, X still, X surely, take forth (out), at any time, X to [and fro], utter.

[5] 'FORTH'

yatsa':H3318

13  And the evening and the morning were the third day.

See verse 5.

14  And God said, Let there be lights[7] 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:

At this point, 'elohiym creates the stars, including the sun. Light was already created before, in Gen 1:3.

It is difficult to reconcile the order of creation presented in this story with current knowledge. For example, how could plants be created before the sun and stars? Many people claim that there is no need to do this. They claim that the purpose of this story is to state that 'elohiym created everything, not to explain how it was done A different version of the creation is also presented in Gen 2.

[7] 'LIGHTS'

3974. ma'owr, maw-ore'; or ma'or, maw-ore'; also (in plur.) fem. me'owrah, meh-o-raw'; or me'orah, meh-o-raw'; from H215; prop. a luminous body or luminary, i.e. (abstr.) light (as an element); fig. brightness, i.e. cheerfulness; spec. a chandelier:--bright, light.

215. 'owr, ore; a prim. root; to be (caus. make) luminous (lit. and metaph.):--X break of day, glorious, kindle, (be, en-, give, show) light (-en, -ened), set on fire, shine.

15  And let them be for lights[6] in the firmament of the heaven to give light[15] upon the earth[18] : and it was so.

[6] 'LIGHTS'

H3974. ma'owr. See verse 14.

[15] 'LIGHT'

216. 'owr, ore; from H215; illumination or (concr.) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.):--bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun.

[18] 'EARTH'

'erets:H776

16  And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule[11] the day, and the lesser light to rule[19] the night: he made the stars also.

All reference to light in this verse use ma'owr:H3974 (see verse 14.)

In Hebrew, there is a word (et) which is not translatable. It means that the next word is an object of the verb. Since the order of words in Hebrew can vary, this word is needed to differentiate between the subject and the object of a verb. In English this is done by word position: the subject is before the verb, while the object is after it. When we say "The dog bit the man," we know that the dog is the subject and the man is the object. In Hebrew, however, the word order could be "et the man bit the
dog", "the dog et the man bit", etc. and mean the same thing.

In this verse, the Hebrew goes "and et the stars," meaning that the stars are another object of the verb (made) at the beginning of the verse. The words "he made" were added to the KJV translation to make it read better in the English.

[11] 'RULE'

4475. memshalah, mem-shaw-law'; fem. of H4474; rule; also (concr. in plur.) a realm or a ruler:--dominion, government, power, to rule.

[19] 'RULE'

memshalah:H4475

17  And God set[3] them in the firmament[7] of the heaven[10] to give light upon the earth,

See Gen 1:6.

[3] 'SET'

5414. nathan, naw-than'; a prim. root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.):--add, apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, X avenge, X be ([healed]), bestow, bring (forth, hither), cast, cause, charge, come, commit consider, count, + cry, deliver (up), direct, distribute do, X doubtless, X without fail, fasten, frame, X get, give (forth, over, up), grant, hang (up), X have, X indeed, lay (unto charge, up), (give) leave, lend, let (out), + lie, lift up, make, + O that, occupy, offer,
ordain, pay, perform, place, pour, print, X pull, put (forth), recompense, render, requite, restore, send (out), set (forth), shew, shoot forth (up). + sing, + slander, strike, [sub-] mit, suffer, X surely, X take, thrust, trade, turn, utter, + weep, X willingly, + withdraw, + would (to) God, yield.

[7] 'FIRMAMENT'

raqiya':H7549 (see verses 6 and 1.)

[10] 'HEAVEN'

shamayim:H8064. See verse 1.

18  And to rule[3] over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

The Hebrew word for rule here is slightly different than the word used in verse 16.

[3] 'RULE'

4910. mashal, maw-shal'; a prim. root; to rule:--(have, make to have) dominion, governor, X indeed, reign, (bear, cause to, have) rule (-ing, -r), have power.

19  And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

See verse 5.

20  And God said, Let the waters[6] bring[7] forth abundantly[9] the moving[11] creature[12] that hath life[15] , and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open[26] firmament of heaven.

The word order of the Hebrew here is: sharats:H8317 mayim:H4325 sherets:H8318 nephesh:H5315 chay:H2416. The literal translation for these words are: "swarm waters swarmers soul life."

The image presented here is that of water boiling and seething with swarms of living creatures. Since Israel is a desert country and water is a valuable but rare substance, this would be a very powerful image to the ancient Israelites.

The LXX reads "reptiles" instead of "moving creatures."

A more accurate translation of "in the open firmament of heaven" would be "on the surface (or face) of the firmament (inverted bowl) of the heavens." (See Gen 1:6).

[6] 'WATERS'

4325. mayim, mah'-yim; dual of a prim. noun (but used in a sing. sense); water; fig. juice; by euphem. urine, semen:-- + piss, wasting, water (-ing, [-course, -flood, -spring]).

[7] 'BRING'

8317. sharats, shaw-rats'; a prim. root; to wriggle, i.e. (by impl.) swarm or abound:--breed (bring forth, increase) abundantly (in abundance), creep, move.

[9] 'ABUNDANTLY'

sharats:H8317

[11] 'MOVING'

8318. sherets, sheh'-rets; from H8317; a swarm, i.e. active mass of minute animals:--creep (-ing thing), move (-ing creature).

[12] 'CREATURE'

5315. nephesh, neh'-fesh; from H5314; prop. a breathing creature, i.e. animal or (abstr.) vitality; used very widely in a lit., accommodated or fig. sense (bodily or mental):--any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), desire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will,
X would have it.

[15] 'LIFE'

2416. chay, khah'ee; from H2421; alive; hence raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong, also (as noun, espec. in the fem. sing. and masc. plur.) life (or living thing), whether lit. or fig.:-- + age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life (-time), live (-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop.

[26] 'OPEN'

6440. paniym, paw-neem'; plur. (but always as sing.) of an unused noun [ paneh, paw-neh'; from H6437]; the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (lit. and fig.); also (with prep. pref.) as a prep. (before, etc.):-- + accept, a (be-) fore (-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront (-part), form (-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him (-self),
+ honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look [-eth] (-s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, prospect, was purposed, by reason, of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them (-selves), through (+ -out), till, time (-s) past, (un-) to (-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with (-in, + stand), X ye, X you.

21  And God created great whales[5] , 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.

Some scholars believe that tanniyn:H8577 is a remnant from an ancient mythology involving sea monsters.

[5] 'WHALES'

8577. tanniyn, tan-neen'; or tanniym (Ezek. 29 : 3), tan-neem'; intens. from the same as H8565; a marine or land monster, i.e. sea-serpent or jackal:--dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale.

8565. tan, tan; from an unused root prob. mean. to elongate; a monster (as preternaturally formed), i.e. a sea-serpent (or other huge marine animal); also a jackal (or other hideous land animal):--dragon, whale. Comp. H8577.

22  And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill[11] the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

The Hebrew word male':H4390 means to fill to overflowing. The sea was to have an abundance of living creatures.

[11] 'FILL'

4390. male', maw-lay'; or mala' (Esth. 7 : 5), maw-law'; a prim. root, to fill or (intrans.) be full of, in a wide application (lit. and fig.):--accomplish, confirm, + consecrate, be at an end, be expired, be fenced, fill, fulfil, (be, become, X draw, give in, go) fully (-ly, -ly set, tale), [over-] flow, fulness, furnish, gather (selves, together), presume, replenish, satisfy, set, space, take a [hand-] full, + have wholly.

23  And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

See verse 5.

24  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living[10] creature[11] after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast[20] of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

In the LXX, God creates "quadrupeds and reptiles and wild beasts of the earth." instead of cattle, etc.

Notice that the word translated "beast" actually means life (see verse 20.) Also, the plural form is used here for creeping things, but the KJV uses the singular.

[10] 'LIVING'

chay:H2416

[11] 'CREATURE'

nephesh:H5315

[20] 'BEAST'

chay:H2416

25  And God made the beast of the earth[8] after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth[24] after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

There are two words translated as "earth." Normally, 'erets:H776 refers to the entire earth, or a large area, such as a country ('erets Israel), while 'adamah:H127 usually refers to the actual dirt or substance of the earth. This verse uses both: the beasts of the 'erets:H776 and those that creep or move upon the 'adamah:H127. Some consider this subtle shift an example of Hebrew poetry.

[8] 'EARTH'

776. 'erets, eh'-rets; from an unused root prob. mean. to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land):-- X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.

[24] 'EARTH'

127. 'adamah, ad-aw-maw'; from H119; soil (from its gen. redness):--country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land.

26  And God said, Let us make man[7] in our image[10] , after our likeness[13] : and let them have dominion[18] 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.

In all the previous days, God announces what He is going to do, he does it, and the narrative moves on to the next day. In this case, God finishes what He said he would do, and then decides to do something more: make man.

The original Hebrew text was not divided into paragraphs and verses; they was added much later by a Christian to facilitate discussions between Jews and Christians. Instead, there are major and minor breaks indicated by gaps in the Hebrew text. In Genesis, a major gap is signaled by the Hebrew letter Pey (P), and a minor break by the Hebrew letter Samech (S).

In the Hebrew text, there are major breaks at the end of each day, similar to the paragraph breaks in the KJV. There is no break here, however. Verses 24 through 31 could be one "paragraph" or section. The NJPS translation adds a paragraph break before verse 29, however.

See verse 28 for a discussion of "dominion."

[7] 'MAN'

120. 'adam, aw-dawm'; from H119; ruddy, i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.):--X another, + hypocrite, + common sort, X low, man (mean, of low degree), person.

[10] 'IMAGE'

6754. tselem, tseh'-lem; from an unused root mean. to shade; a phantom, i.e. (fig.) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, espec. an idol:--image, vain shew.

[13] 'LIKENESS'

1823. demuwth, dem-ooth'; from H1819; resemblance; concr. model, shape; adv. like:--fashion, like (-ness, as), manner, similitude.

[18] 'DOMINION'

7287. radah, raw-daw'; a prim. root; to tread down, i.e. subjugate; spec. to crumble off:--(come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule, (-r, over), take.

27  So God created man[4] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female[19] created he them.

It is clear from the context that "man" really refers to "(hu)mankind."

Some people argue that this verse supports the notion that God has both male and female properties.

[4] 'MAN'

120. 'adam, aw-dawm'; from H119; ruddy, i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.):--X another, + hypocrite, + common sort, X low, man (mean, of low degree), person.

[19] 'FEMALE'

5347. neqebah, nek-ay-baw'; from H5344; female (from the sexual form):--female, woman.

28  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish[15] the earth, and subdue[19] it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living[40] thing that moveth upon the earth.

The KJV obscures the fact that the command to "be fruitful and replenish the earth" is identical in Hebrew to the command given to the animals of the sea in verse 22.

The impression given by Genesis 1 is that man must conquer the earth and bring it into submission (see "dominion" in verse 26 and "subdue" in this verse.) In Genesis 2, however, we see quite a different attitude. (see Gen 2:15.)

The Lamsa translation names "cattle and wild beasts" instead of "living thing," while the LXX reads "and to every reptile creeping on the earth, which has in itself the breath of life."

[15] 'REPLENISH'

male':H4390.

[19] 'SUBDUE'

3533. kabash, kaw-bash'; a prim. root; to tread down; hence neg. to disregard; pos. to conquer, subjugate, violate:--bring into bondage, force, keep under, subdue, bring into subjection.

[40] 'LIVING'

chay:H2416

29  And 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[42] .

Notice that man is given dominion over animals, but given plants for food. (The Hebrew 'oklah:H402, translated "meat" is often used to refer to grain, fruits, etc.) No mention is made of humans eating meat until after the flood (see Gen 9:3).

[42] 'MEAT'

402. 'oklah, ok-law'; fem. of H401; food:--consume, devour, eat, food, meat.

30  And 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[35] : and it was so.

Notice that animals are given plants to eat, similar to man. No mention is made of any living thing being food for another living thing.

[35] 'MEAT'

'oklah:H402 (see verse 29.)

31  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very[14] good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

In all the previous verses, God saw that the results of each day were good (see verse 4.) Here, God sees that the results are very good.

The Hebrew word me'od:H3966 emphasizes whatever word it is modifying.

[14] 'VERY'

3966. me'od, meh-ode'; from the same as H181; prop. vehemence, i.e. (with or without prep.) vehemently; by impl. wholly, speedily, etc. (often with other words as an intensive or superlative; espec. when repeated):--diligently, especially, exceeding (-ly), far, fast, good, great (-ly), X louder and louder, might (-ily, -y), (so) much, quickly, (so) sore, utterly, very (+ much, sore), well.


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