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THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
INTRODUCTION. The Book of Genesis (beginning) is the first The Book of Genesis may be divided accordof five books known collectively as the Pen- ing to various points of view. The simplest tateuch, which the many Scriptural references division is that into two parts, chaps. 1-11 in the later books of the Old Testament as well recording the beginnings of all history to the as those of the New Testament compel us to confusion of tongues, and chaps. 12–50 showascribe to the authorship of Moses. In the ing how God paved the way for the establishBook of Genesis the inspired author presents ment of the theocracy as it afterward existed a record of the origin of the world, of the for a number of centuries. Some commentators human race, of the institution of marriage, of prefer the division into six chief parts, chaps. the beginning of sin, of the first judgment of 145 dealing mainly with Adam, chaps. 6—11 God upon a sinful world, of the first preaching with Noah, chaps. 12—24 with Abraham, chaps. of the Gospel, and of the beginning of the 25—27 with Isaac, chaps. 28-36 with Jacob, chosen race as the bearers of the Messianic and chaps. 37–50 with Joseph. prophecies.
The period of which the Book of Genesis Moses, the author of the Book of Genesis, treats begins with the creation of man and ends was the son of Amram, a member of the tribe with the Flood, comprising some 1,700 years. of Levi, and his wife Jochebed, as recorded in Though there is no valid reason for assuming Exodus, chaps. 2 and 6. He was born in Egypt, that the art of writing had not been developed at the time when the rise of a new dynasty had by the people of the world at that time, recent caused the deeds of Joseph to be forgotten and discoveries indicating, rather, that the art of the new Pharaoh had laid upon the children of writing was a common accomplishment in the Israel such intolerable burdens as ever a nation East as early as the time of Abraham, in fact, was obliged to bear. By God's dispensation his that large libraries were then in existence, there own mother became his nurse after his parents was no urgent need of recording the Word of had found it impossible to keep him at home God at that time, since the patriarchs lived to any longer, Ex. 2, 8. 9. In this way Moses was a very great age and were able to pass on what instructed in the history and the religion of God had revealed to them by word of mouth, his people, and although he afterward, as the from generation to generation. The record adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter, was taught shows, for instance, that Adam lived for fiftyall the wisdom of the Egyptians, he remained six years after Lamech, the father of Noah, had true to Jehovah, the God of his fathers. From been born. This providential arrangement conthe land of Midian, whither Moses had fled tinued for some time after the Flood; for from the wrath of Pharaoh, the Lord called Abraham was born 150 years before the death him to be the deliverer and the leader of the of Shem and surely profited by his instruction. children of Israel, and he served in this capac- The period from the Flood till the death of ity for somewhat more than forty years, until Joseph is that of the patriarchs proper, and he had brought the people to the boundaries covers a space of some six hundred years. At of Canaan, where he appointed Joshua as his its close the chosen family of Abraham had successor, went up on Mount Nebo, where God multiplied into a numerous people. showed him the entire country which his people The modern student of the Bible will find in were to possess, died there, and was buried by the Book of Genesis abundant evidence of the the Lord Himself. — Moses probably wrote the providential working of God in the destinies of Book of Genesis some time during the forty mankind. Above all, however, the Christian years' sojourn in the wilderness, and God not will follow with the greatest interest the Mesonly inspired him to write, but also revealed to sianic types and prophecies which appear even him most of the matter that is contained in the thus early in the Holy Scriptures; for just as account, since tradition would, at best, have the entire New Testament looks back to Christ, been extremely unreliable and many events thus the entire Old Testament looks forward could not have been known but by the special to Christ. Jesus is the center of all divine revelation of the Lord.
Popular Commentary, Old Test., I.
THE CREATION OF THE FIRMAMENT. – V. 6. THE CREATION OF CHAOS AND LIGHT. - V.1. And God said, Let there be a firmament in In the beginning God created the heaven the midst of the waters, and let it divide and the earth. In the beginning, cp. John 1, 1,
the waters from the waters. God's almighty that is, when time first began, when time was
word continued to create on the second day. first measured; for as long as God alone ex
He caused a firm extension, or expansion, to isted, there was no time. God created, He
be fixed in the midst of the waters, in the brought forth out of nothing, He brought into
chaos where liquid and vapor were intermingled being something that had not been in existence
with the more solid substances. The purpose before, namely, the heaven, or heavens, and the
of this firmament was to keep separate the earth, the material out of which they were con
waters from the waters, as the text next ex. structed. V.2. And the earth was without
plains. V.7. And God made the firmament, form and void. The material substance of
and divided the waters which were under which the earth consists was in a state of chaos,
the firmament from the waters which were
Althe various elements being intermingled in
above the firmament. And it was so. utter disorder. And darkness was upon the
though there is no concrete, visible vault of the face of the deep. There was, as yet, no ele
sky, yet there is an invisible dividing-wall mental light; the great sea of the chaotic
above the earth, which under ordinary condimaterials was covered with an impenetrable
tions holds back the masses of water in gaseous veil of the blackest darkness. And the Spirit
form which are high above the visible clouds. of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Cp. chap. 7, 11. V.8. And God called the firThe third person of the Holy Trinity is rep
mament Heaven. And the evening and resented as taking part in the work of creation
the morning were the second day. God by way of brooding over the waters, by making
Himself applied the name heaven, or heavens,
to the invisible dividing-wall which separates use of His divine power in causing the elements to combine in the form which they now have.
the waters below from the waters above. Thus
the work of the second day was accomplished. V.3. And God said, Let there be light; and
THE CREATION OF THE DRY LAND, HERBS, AND there was light. God spoke; the almighty
TREES. – V. 9. And God said, Let the waters Word of God is here introduced, the second
under the heaven be gathered together person of the Godhead, John 1, 3. The creation
unto one place, and let the dry land apof the world is a work of the Triune God. By
pear; and it was so. God here finished His the word of His power He created light, ele.
creative work on inanimate matter, when His mental light, brought it into being in the midst
almighty command bade the waters from beof the darkness, commanded it to shine out of
low the heavens, below the firmament which darkness, 2 Cor. 4, 6. V. 4. And God saw the
He had constructed, be gathered together into light that it was good; and God divided
a single place, by themselves. In chaos the the light from the darkness.
The light mixture of solids and liquids had been so comwas good, it was a perfect creature of God's
plete as to preclude the designation "dry land.” almighty power; and so God separated between
But now both the solids and the liquids were the light and the darkness, so that they were to be separated, so that dry land, as we know no longer in a chaotic state. V. 5. And God
it, was visible. V. 10. And God called the called the light Day, and the darkness He
dry land Earth, and the gathering tocalled Night. Time had begun for the earth,
gether of the waters called He Seas. And and therefore the Lord made this rule for the
God saw that it was good. There had been division of light and darkness, as they follow no chemical compound, but a mere mixture of each other in regular order, and did so even solid and liquid particles in the mass composbefore the creation of the light-bodies. He
ing chaos. The division took place at God's Himself defined the unit of time which He thus
almighty command, and the dry land was henceordered. And the evening and the morning forth known as earth, while the places on the were the first day. And there was evening, earth's surface where the waters had come towhen the darkness had ruled alone, and there gether into large masses were called seas or was morning, when God's almighty power cre
And again God saw that the product ated light and separated it from the darkness. of His almighty power was good, that it exactly Ever since the first day of the world the regular served the purpose for which it was intended. recurrence of darkness and light marks the V. 11. And God said, Let the earth bring period of one day, as we now divide it into
forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and twenty-four hours. This is the fundamental the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, meaning of the Hebrew word here used, which whose seed is in itself, upon the earth. must be assumed even Ps. 90, 4 (cp. 2 Pet. 3, 8), And it was so. The dry land having emerged where the Lord accommodates Himself to human from the waters, it was now possible, by God's speech and limitations, for the sake of com- command, for the earth to be clothed with vegeparison.
tation, with green, tender grass, with small
- V. 6.
nt in ivide ighty
day. n, to
the ogled pose the
Al the all adi Dus ds. irand od 7s,
plants bearing seeds, and with trees of all kinds they usually impress men: they give forth that bear fruit. As the Lord gave to the earth light upon the earth; their influence controls the power to bring forth the plants, so He day and night, respectively; their rising and placed into the plants the power to propogate setting governs the division of light and darktheir kind by bearing seed and fruit. V. 12.
And again, the work of the perfect God And the earth brought forth grass, and was perfect. V. 19. And the evening and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the the morning were the fourth day. tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in it- THE CREATION OF MARINE ANIMALS AND self, after his kind. And God saw that BIRDS. – V. 20. And God said, Let the waters it was good. The mature plants were thus bring forth abundantly the moving creabrought into being by the word of God's power, ture that hath life, and fowl that may ily fully able to reproduce their kind and species above the earth in the open firmament of by means of seed and fruit. It was not a heaven. At God's almighty word the waters gradual generation, as under the present laws were to swarm a swarm of living beings, of of nature, but the fully developed specimens marine animals, and also of winged animals, were brought forth by the earth as God's cre- characterized by the fact that they fly over the ative work, altogether fit to take their place in earth on the face of the firmament, that is, the universe. This ended the work of the third on the side which is turned toward the earth. day. V. 13. And the evening and the morn- These animals were created in great abundance ing were the third day.
and are conspicuous to this day by their unTHE CREATION OF Sun, Moon, AND Stars. usually great number, as careful statistics have V. 14. And God said, Let there be lights in shown. V. 21. And God created great the firmament of the heaven to divide the whales, and every living creature that day from the night; and let them be for moveth, which the waters brought forth signs and for seasons and for days and abundantly, after their kind, and every years. The Creator brought into being light winged fowl after his kind. And God saw bodies of the sky, assigning to them a threefold that it was good. Not only the fishes were function: to show the distinction between day made by God to inhabit the seas, but He also and night, to serve as indicators or means for created long and huge whales, crocodiles, and men, enabling them to distinguish between the other monsters of the oceans and rivers, and two divisions of the full day; to serve for every form of marine animal, no matter of signs, not only as in the case of ordinary what form and nature, with which the waters eclipses, but also as omens extraordinary; and swarm, and every kind of winged animal, to fix the calendar of the world in general. chiefly birds, all of them perfect and exactly And not only that: V. 15. And let them be adapted to the element in which they found for lights in the firmament of the heaven themselves. V. 22. And God blessed them, to give light upon the earth. And it saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill
That is the third function of the the waters in the seas, and let fowl mulheavenly light-bodies, to send forth the lighttiply in the earth. As animate beings both either their own or that reflected by them, to the marine animals and those that inhabit the be light-bearers for the earth. No sooner had air received a special blessing of the Lord, not God spoken than it was done; for it was not in a mere friendly and fatherly greeting, but an ordinary work done by Him, but an act of in the conveyance of the power to reproduce creation. V. 16. And God made two great themselves in kind. The fishes were to mullights; the greater light to rule the day, tiply at such a rate as to fill up all the oceans, and the lesser light to rule the night. He and the birds were to become many on the made the stars also. Although the names are
earth. V. 23. And the evening and the not expressly mentioned, it is obvious that the morning were the fifth day. greater light is the sun, which, by its light THE CREATION OF THE LAND ANIMALS. and power, governs the day, has the most pro- V. 24. And God said, Let the earth bring found influence upon organic and inorganic forth the living creature after his kind, life, and the smaller light the moon, which cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of governs the night and the life of the night in the earth after his kind. And it was so. much the same way as the sun does by day. The seas and the air having been filled with Likewise, God on this day filled the immense living beings, the earth now received the comreaches of the universe with the countless num- mand to bring forth, to permit to go forth, ber of stars. V. 17. And God set them in living beasts: animals such as were easily the firmament of the heaven to give light domesticated, reptiles and creeping beasts, and upon the earth, v. 18. and to rule over the the game of prairie and forest. Without delay day and over the night, and to divide the the order was carried into execution, the earth light from the darkness. And God saw opening or unfolding, as it were, and presenting that it was good. God's almighty, creative the animals fully grown.
V. 25. And God act is again emphasized; for He gave, He put made the beast of the earth after his kind the light-bodies in their proper place, the func- and cattle after their kind and every thing tions of which are given in the order in which that creepeth upon the earth after his