Genesis 2:4
(4) When they were created.--Heb., in, or upon, their creation.

In the day.--Viewed in its several stages, and with reference to the weekly rest, there were six days of creation, which are here described as one day, because they were but divisions in one continuous act.

The Lord God.--Jehovah-Elohim. (See Excursus at the end of this book.)


The Bereshit Rabba argues that Adam and Eve remained in their original state of innocence for six hours only. Others have supposed that the events recorded in Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 3:24 took place in the course of twenty-four hours, and suppose that this is proved by what is said in Genesis 2:4, that the earth and heavens, with Adam and the garden, were all made in one day, before the end of which they suppose that he fell. This view, like that which in Genesis 1 interprets each creative day of a similar period, really amounts to this: that the narrative of Holy Scripture is to be forced to bend to an arbitrary meaning put upon a single word, and drawn not from its meaning in Hebrew, but from its ordinary use in English. More correctly, we might venture to say that the use of the word day in Genesis 2:4 is a Divine warning against so wilful a method of exposition.

Read intelligently, the progress of time is carefully marked. In Genesis 2:6 the earth is watered by a mist: in paradise there are mighty rivers. Now, mist would not produce rivers; and if there were mist in the morning, and rain in the afternoon, a long period of time would still be necessary before the falling rains would form for themselves definite channels. A vast space must have elapsed between the mist period and that in which the Tigris and Euphrates rolled along their mighty floods.

And with this the narrative agrees. All is slow and gradual. God does not summon the Garden of Eden into existence by a sudden command, but He "planted" it, and "out of the ground He "made to grow" such trees as were most remarkable for beauty, and whose fruit was most suitable for human food. In some favoured spot, in soil fertile and fit for their development, God, by a special providence, caused such plants to germinate as would best supply the needs of a creature so feeble as man, until, by the aid of his reason, he has invented those aids and helps which the animals possess in their own bodily organisation. The creation of full-grown trees belongs to the region of magic. A book which gravely recorded such an act would justly be relegated to the Apocrypha; for the God of revelation works by law, and with such long ages of preparation that human eagerness is often tempted to cry, "How long?" and to pray that God would hasten His work.

And next, as regards Adam. Placed in a garden, two of the rivers of which--the Tigris and the Euphrates--seem to show that the earth at his creation had already settled down into nearly its present shape, he is commanded "to dress and keep it." The inspired narrator would scarcely have spoken in this way if Adam's continuance in the garden had been but a few hours or days. We find him living there so long that his solitude becomes wearisome to him, and the Creator at length affirms that it is not good for him to be alone. Meanwhile, Adam is himself searching for a partner, and in the hope of finding one, he studies all the animals around him, observes their ways, gives them names, discovers many valuable qualities in them, makes several of them useful to him, but still finds none among them that answers to his wants. But when we read that "Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to every beast of the field," we cannot but see that this careful study of the creatures round him must have continued through a long period before it could have resulted in their being thus generally classified and named in Adam's mind. At length Eve is brought, and his words express the lively pleasure of one who, after repeated disappointments, had at length found that of which he was in search. "This," he says, "this time is bone of my bone."

How long Adam and Eve enjoyed their simple happiness after their marriage is left untold; but this naming of the animals at least suggests that some time elapsed before the fall. Though Adam had observed their habits, yet he would scarcely have given many of them names before he had a rational companion with whom to hold discourse. For some, indeed, he would have found names when trying to call them to him, but only for such as seemed fit for domestication. The rest he would pass by till there was some one to whom to describe them. Thus Eve seems to have known something of the sagacity of the serpent. She, too, as well as Adam, recognised the voice of Jehovah walking in the garden (chap. 3:8); and the girdles spoken of in Genesis 2:7 seem also to indicate, by their elaboration, that the guilty pair remained in Paradise some time after the fall. The indications of time are, however, less numerous and definite after the creation of Eve than before; but certainly Adam was for some considerable period a denizen of Paradise, and probably there was a longer time than is generally supposed spent in innocence by him and his wife, and also some delay between the fall and their expulsion from their happy home.

Verse 4. - These are the generations is the usual heading for the different sections into which the Book of Genesis is divided (vial. Genesis 5:1; Genesis 6:9; Genesis 10:1; Genesis 11:10, 27; Genesis 25:12, 19; Genesis 36:1; Genesis 37:2). Misled by the LXX., who render toldoth by ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως, Ranks, Title, Havernick, Tuch, Ewald, and Stahelin disconnect the entire verse from the second section, which says nothing about the origination of the heavens and the earth, and append it to the preceding, in which their creation is described. Ilgen improves on their suggestion by transferring it to the commencement of Genesis 1, as an appropriate superscription. Dreschler, Vaihingel Bohlen, Oehler, Macdonald, et alii divide the verse into two clauses, and annex the former to what precedes, commencing the ensuing narrative with the latter. All of these proposals are, however, rendered unnecessary by simply observing that toldoth (from yaladh, to bear, to beget; hence begettings, procreations, evolutions, developments) does not describe the antecedents, but the consequents, of either thing or Person (Rosen., Keil, Kalisch). The toldoth of Noah are not the genealogical list of the patriarch's ancestry, but the tabulated register of his posterity; and so the generations of the heavens and the earth refer not to their original production (Gesenius), but to their onward movements from creation downwards (Keil). Hence with no incongruity, but with singular propriety, the first half of the present verse, ending with the words when they were created, literally, in tier creation, stands at the commencement of the section in which the forward progression of the universe is traced. The point of departure in this subsequent evolution of the material heavens and earth is further specified as being in the day that the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim) made the earth and the heavens; not the heavens and the earth, which would have signified the universe (cf. on Genesis 1:1), and carried hack the writer s thought to the initial act of creation; but the earth and the atmospheric firmament, which indicates the period embracing the second and (possibly) the third creative days as the terminus aguo of the generations to be forthwith recorded. Then it was that the heavens and the earth in their development took a clear and decided step forward in the direction of man and the human family (was it in the appearance of vegetation?); and in this thought perhaps will be found the key to the significance of the new name for the Divine Being which is used exclusively throughout the present section - Jehovah Elohim. From the frequency of its use, and the circumstance that it never has the article, Jehovah may be regarded as the proper Personal name of God. Either falsely interpreting Exodus 20:7 and Leviticus 24:11, or following some ancient superstition (mysterious names of deities were used generally in the East; the Egyptian Hermes had a name which (Cic. 'de Natura Deorum,' 8, 16) durst not be uttered: Furst), the later Hebrews invested this nomen tetra. grammaton with such sanctity that it might not bepronounced (Philo, Vit. Mosis, 3:519, 529). Accordingly, it was their custom to write it in the sacred text with the vowel points of Adonai, or, if that preceded, Elohim. Hence considerable doubt now exists as to its correct pronunciation. Etymologically viewed it is a future form of havah, an old form of hayah; uncertainty as to what future has occasioned many different suggestions as to what constituted its primitive vocalization. According to the evidence which scholars have collected, the choice lies between

(1) Jahveh (Gesenius, Ewald, Reland, Oehler, Macdonald, the Samaritan),

(2) Yehveh or Yeheveh (Furst, W. L. Alexander, in Kitto's 'Cyclopedia'), and

(3) Jehovah (Michaelis, Meyer, Stier, Hoelmann, Tregelles, Murphy). Perhaps the preponderance of authority inclines to the first; but the common punctuation is not so indefensible as some writers allege. Gesenius admits that it more satisfactorily accounts for the abbreviated syllables יִהו and יו than the pronunciation which he himself favors. Murphy thinks that the substitution of Adonai for Jehovah was facilitated by the agreement of their vowel points. The locus classicus for its signification is Exodus 3:14, in which God defines himself as "I am that I am," and commands Moses to tell the children of Israel that Ehyeh had sent him. Hengstenberg and Keil conclude that absolute self-existence is the essential idea represented by the name (cf. Exodus 3:14; ὁ ὤν, LXX.; Revelation 1:4, 8; ὥν καὶ ὁ ἠν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, vd. Furst, 'Lex. sub nora.'). Baumgarten and Delitzsch, laying stress on its future form, regard it as = the Becoming One, with reference to the revelation, rather than the essence, of the Divine nature. Macdonald, from the circumstance that it was not used till after the fall, discovers a pointing forward to Jehovah as ὁ ἑρχόμενος in connection with redemption. Others, deriving from a hiphil future, take it as denoting "he who causes to be, the Fulfiller," and find in this an explanation of Exodus 6:3 (Exell). May not all these ideas be more or less involved in the fullness of the Divine name? As distinguished from Elohim, Deus omnipotens, the mighty One, Jehovah is the absolute, self-existent One, who manifests himself to man, and, in particular, enters into distinct covenant engagements for his redemption, which he in due time fulfils. In the present section the names are conjoined partly to identify Jehovah with Elohim, and partly because the subject of which it treats is the history of man.

2:4-7 Here is a name given to the Creator, Jehovah. Where the word LORD is printed in capital letters in our English Bibles, in the original it is Jehovah. Jehovah is that name of God, which denotes that he alone has his being of himself, and that he gives being to all creatures and things. Further notice is taken of plants and herbs, because they were made and appointed to be food for man. The earth did not bring forth its fruits of itself: this was done by Almighty power. Thus grace in the soul grows not of itself in nature's soil, but is the work of God. Rain also is the gift of God; it came not till the Lord God caused it. Though God works by means, yet when he pleases he can do his own work without them; and though we must not tempt God in the neglect of means, we must trust God, both in the use and in the want of means. Some way or other, God will water the plants of his own planting. Divine grace comes down like the dew, and waters the church without noise. Man was made of the small dust, such as is on the surface of the earth. The soul was not made of the earth, as the body: pity then that it should cleave to the earth, and mind earthly things. To God we must shortly give an account, how we have employed these souls; and if it be found that we have lost them, though it were to gain the world, we are undone for ever! Fools despise their own souls, by caring for their bodies before their souls.These are the generations of the heavens and the earth, when they were created,.... That is, the above account, delivered in the preceding chapter, is a history of the production of the heavens and earth, and of all things in them; the creation of them being a kind of generation, and the day of their creation a sort of birthday; see Genesis 5:1.

in the day that the Lord God made the earth, and the heavens; meaning not any particular day, not the first day, in which the heavens and the earth were created; but referring to the whole time of the six days, in which everything in them, and relating to them, were made. Here another name is added to God, his name "Jehovah", expressive of his being and perfections, particularly his eternity and immutability, being the everlasting and unchangeable "I am", which is, and was, and is to come: this name, according to the Jews, is not to be pronounced, and therefore they put the points of "Adonai", directing it so to be read; and these two names, "Jehovah Elohim", or "Adonai" and "Elohim", with them make the full and perfect name of God, and which they observe is here very pertinently given him, upon the perfection and completion of his works.

Genesis 2:3
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