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6 T And God said, 5 Let there, the waters, and let it divide the be a firmament in the midst of waters from the waters.
g Job 37. 18. Ps. 136. 5. Jer. 10. 12. & 51. 15.
such reasons for all things in a treatise six days' period of the creation; "These by itself, I shall put off its exposition are the generations of the heavens till that time.' J. Antiq. B. I. c. 1. $ 1. and the earth, in the day (179) beyom) He evidently considered the phrase that the Lord God made the earth and one day' as having, in this connection, the heavens.' So in Job 18. 20, it apsomething of a peculiar sense. What
pears to be put for the whole period of that was can only be determined from a man's life; "They that come after him other instances of the usage that ob- shall be astonied at his day (7279 tains in regard to each of these terms. yomu) ;' and in Is. 30. 8, for all future As to the numeral 764 one, we find time; ‘Now go, note it in a book, that several instances in which its true im- it may be for the time to come (5773 port seems to be that of certain, pecu- 777778 for the latter day), for ever and liar, special, Lat. quidam, as Dan. 8. 13, ever.' In like manner the phrase, The “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, day of the Lord,' so often occurring, unand behold, there stood before me a doubtedly denotes a period of indeterram,' Heb. 75% 3h a certain ram, minate length. To this it may indeed i. e. a ram of a peculiar description; one be objected that the day here spoken of having two horns of unequal height. is said to have been made up of evening Ezek. 7.5, "Thus saith the Lord God; and morning; and how, it will be asked, an evil, an only evil, behold, is come,' Heb. 1778 1799 one evil, i. e. an evil of I could a single evening and morning
constitute a day of indefinite duration ? a unique and unwonted nature. Cant.
To this we reply, that nothing is more 6. 9, 'My dove, my undefiled is (but) common in Hebrew than to find the sinone; she is the (only) one of her mo- gular used in a collective sense equivalent ther, she is the choice (one) of her that to the plurak When it is said, therefore, bare her;' where it is plain that the that the evening and the morning were term 'one' conveys the idea of some- a certain day,' we understand it as equithing peculiar, something especially dis- valent to saying, that a series or suctinguished from others of the same cession of evenings and mornings (Gr. class. Comp. Gen. 37. 20. Kings 19. 4. voxonuepu, twenty-four hour days) con-20. 13. Dan. 8. 13. Now if this sense stituted a peculiar kind of day, a day, a may be admitted in the present passage, period, of undefined extent; and so of to which we see no valid objection, the the subsequent days of the creative meaning will be, that the evening and week; the sense of the common day the morning constituted a certain, a being really involved in that of the special, a peculiar day, a day sui gene-other; or in other words, each of the ris ; in other words, a period of time of six indefinite days or periods, being indefinite length. For that the Heb. made up of an equally indefinite num077 yom, day is repeatedly used in the ber of common or twenty-four hour indefinite sense of epoch or period, no days. It is doubtless under some disone will question who is at all acquaint advantages that this interpretation is ed with the Scriptural idiom. Thus, in thus briefly and nakedly proposed, but the very first instance in which it oc- as our limits will not allow enlargecurs after the history of the six days' ment, we have no alternative but to work, as if to furnish us with authority leave it to commend itself as best it may for such a rendering, we find itemployed to the judgment of the reader. By the in a collective sense to denote the whole l author it has not been rashly adopted.
7 And God made the firma-1 8 And God called the firmament, b and divided the waters ment Heaven: and the evening which were under the firmament and the morning were the second from the waters which were day. i above the firmament: and it was
6. Let there be a firmament. Or, Heb. In our modes of speech one thing may
D7 an expansion. The original word be said to be in the midst of another, as for 'firmamenť comes from a root a stone in a bucket of water, without
signifying primitively to beat, to at the same time wholly separating the smite or stamp with the feet, or other ins- parts of the containing substance. But trument, to make hard or firm by tread the design of the firmament was wholly ing; hence, to spread out by beating, to separate the waters above from the as thin plates of metal, and finally to
waters below, and to express this the stretch out, to expand, as a curtain. word 'between' is much more approThe sense of expansion' is undoubted- priate than in the midst.'- - Let it ly prominent in the present use of the divide. Heb at the clet it be separating, term, yet subordinate to this is the idea i. e. let it continue to separate. The of a 'firmament (Gr. 'supewma), or that original implies a continued act. So Is. which firmly supports an incumbent 59.2, 'Your iniquities have separated weight, as the atmosphere does the (Heb. 377an are separating) between masses of watery clouds above. But you and your God,' i.e. continue to sesince the aerial regions, by an illusion parate, form a fixed ground of separa. of the senses, seem to extend to the tion. By this arrangement one portion heavenly bodies, therefore the sun, of the waters remained suspended in the moon, and stars are said to be placed upper regions of ether, whilst another in the firmament, though in reality re
was forced down in immediate contact moved to immense distances beyond it. with the body of the earth, and the exIt is the usage of the Scriptures to de- panse left void by their separation was scribe the things of the natural world called by the name of 'firmament,' or as they appear, as they strike the eyes heaven. Probably a considerable porof plain unlettered observers; accord- tion of the space now occupied by the atingly in former ages, before the true mosphere was previously occupied by structure of the solar system was un the surrounding waters, as the Psalmist derstood, the idea naturally suggested says, referring to this period, Ps. 104. 6, by the word 'firmament was kai of "They stood above the mountains.' the blue vault of heaven ; but now that 7. Waters which were under. Rather, our superior knowledge enables us to waters which are under,' waters correct the impressions of the senses, which are above,' &o.; for it cannot be we interpret the term with stricter pro-conceived how the firmament should priety of the extensive circumambient be the first means of dividing the wafluid the atmosphere, or rather of the ters, if a portion of them were already region which it occupies. In the above, and a portion already below. midst of the waters. This rendering, 8. Called the firmament heaven. The though answering very nearly to the correct interpretation of the term 'healetter of the original, would be better ven,' or 'heavens,' depends of course exchanged for 'between,' a term which upon that of 'firmament.' If this has gives the English reader a far more ac- been rightly explained, it will follow curate idea of the true situation and use that the word 'heaven' does not in of the firmament as above described.'strict propriety, though in general usage 9 | And God said, Let the land Earth; and the gathering waters under the heaven be ga- together of the waters called he thered together unto one place, Seas: and God saw that it was and let the dry land appear: and good. it was so.
11 And God said, Let the earth 10 And God called the dry
k Job 26. 10. & 38. 8.
9. & 136. 6. Prov. 8. 29. Jer. 5. 22.
Ps. 33. 7. & 95. 5. & 104.
2 Pet. 3. 5.
ine and as it was my TES;
it does, include the heavenly bodies. Thou coveredst it (the earth) with the This is confirmed by 2 Pet. 3. 5–7. deep as with a garment: the waters Whereby the world that then was pe
stood above the mountains. At thu son rished; but the heavens and the earth buke they fled; at the noiser him which are now, by the same word are thunder they hasted away. They go up kept in store reserved unto fire,' &c. by the mountains, they go down by Here it will be noted that the world the valleys unto the place which thou which then was’ is opposed to the hast founded for them. Thou hast set heavens and the earth which now are,'
a bound that they may not pass over ; as if they were co; urate terms;
that they turn not again to cover the
eglobe with its earth. This may be considered as an surrounding atmosphere which felt the appropriate comment on the phrase effects of the deluge, so it is to be in-'one place,' wnich is not to be taken in ferred that if a future physical destruc- its strictest import, but merely as imtion be here intended, it will be of the plying that the waters were for the most same extent. Consequently heaven' is part congregated together in one vast a term for the atmosphere. The phrases, body, instead of being universally diffus'hosts of heaven,' stars of heaven,' ed over the face of the earth. This is the &c., do indeed frequently occur, but it is state of things which we now contembecause the starry hosts are apparent- plate ; the various great seas and oceans ly placed in the superior regions of that constituting in fact but one body of which is really and truly “heaven,' viz. water called in different regions by disthe atmospheric firmament.
ferent names, as the Atlantic, Pacific, 9. Let the waters—be gathered together Indian, Southern, &c. oceans. unto one place. The vast mass of wa- 10. Seas. Heb. bahan yamim, from ters which had hitherto covered the a word signifying tumultuous agitation entire surface of the globe was now to and roaring. The term is therefore be brought within a narrower compass, used in many instances in the symboand large tracts of the submerged earth lical language of the prophets to denota to be reclaimed and rendered habitable a vast body of people in a state of restground. Of the causes or movements less commotion. See Ps. 65. 8. Is. 57. by which this mighty result was ef- 20. Jer. 51. 42. Rev. 17 15. The word fected no detail is given. It is easy to is sometimes applied to a lesser collecconceive that it must have been attend- tion of waters, as that which one of the ed by a tremendous convulsion of the Evangelists denominates a 'sea,' Matt. exterior portions of the globe, and it is 8. 32, another calls a 'lake,' Luke 8: not unlikely that many of the irregular 33; and it is elsewhere used to denote and broken appearances and traces of not a body of water, but the reservoir violent action which are now visible on which contains it, as the 'brazen sea' the earth's surface are to be referred to of Solomon, 2 Chron. 4. 2, and the sea this event. The language of the Psal- of glass' of the Apocalypse, ch. 4. 6. mist, Ps. 104. 6–9, would indicate that ii. Let the earth bring forth grass. the phenomena must have been strik. Heb. 807 the tender budding grass, a ing and awful beyond description ;-| term applicable to every kind of grassy
I bring forth grass, the herb yield- | after his kind : and God saw that ing seed, and the fruit tree yield- it was good. ing fruit after his kind, whose 13 And the evening and the seed is in itself, upon the earth : morning were the third day. and it was so.
14 | And God said, Lei there 12 And the earth brought forth be " lights in the firmament of the grass, and herb yielding seed af- heaven, to divide the day from ter his kind, and the tree yielding the night; and let them be for fruit, whose seed was in itself,
n Deut. 4. 19.
Ps. 74. 16. & 136. 7.
1 Heb. 6, 7. m Luke 6. 44. or verdant vegetable in a state of ble from its being said, 'Let the dry sprouting, and pointing more especially land appear (IIeb. be seen),' when as to such as are propagated rather from yet there was no eye to see it—then we
the root than the seed.--1 Herb yield- may reasonably conclude that the sun \ing seed. Heb. yote yanna seeding was formed on the first day, or perhaps
seed. Gr. Orelpov otspua; by which is had been created even before our earth, meant such wild or cultivable plants and was in fact the cause of the vicissias were to propagate themselves by tude of the three first days and nights. yielding, shedding or scattering their But as the globe of the earth was during seeds. The word 'herb' embraces the that time surrounded by a dense mass whole department of the vegetable of mingled air and water, the rays of world between grasses and trees, the the sun would be intercepted; only a three grand divisions which are recog- dim glimmering light, even in the day nised in this verse. — -1 Fruit tree time, would appear; and the bodies of yielding fruit. Heb. w ma- | the heavenly luminaries would be enking fruit. For a view of the scriptu- tirely hidden, just as they now are in a ral usage in respect to the word make very cloudy day. Let it be supposed in the sense of increase, multiplication, then that on the fourth day the clouds, accumulation, see note on Gen. 12. 5. mists, and vapors were all cleared away, As trees by their height rise superior and the atmosphere made pure and seto the rest of the
ble tribes, they rene; the sun of course would shine are, in prophetic style, a symbol of per- forth in all his splendor, and to the eye sons of rank, eminence and authority of our imagined spectator would seem The grass, on the other hand, denotes to have been just created; and so at the mass of the common people. See night of the moon and stars. This efthis confirmed Ezek. 17. 24.–31. 5. Is. fect of the divine power, according to 14. 8. Rev. 8. 7.
the usual analogy of the Scriptures, is 14. Let there be lights, foc. It is un- described from its appearance, and the questionable that the Scriptures gene-language employed--'let there be lights rally describe the phenomena of the in the firmament--and-'he made two natural world as they appear, rather great lights and set them in the firma
than according to strict scientific truth. ment'-—is to be interpreted on the prin: Thus the sun and moon are said to ciple above stated. They might then
rise and set-the stars to fall-and the be said to be made,' because they then moon to be turned into blood. Conse- first began to be visible, and to perform quently, if this history of the creation the office for which they were designed. were designed to describe the effects of The original word for 'made' is not the six days' work as they would have the same as that which is rendered appeared to a spectator, had one been create.' It is a term frequently empresent,—a supposition rendered proba- | ployed to signify constituted, appointed signs, and · for seasons, and for 15 And let them be for lights days, and years.
in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth : and it
o Ps. 74. 17. & 104. 19,
set for a particular purpose or use. therefore, whenever the judgments of Thus it is said that God made Joseph God or extraordinary events are sig. a father to Pharaoh'-' made him lord nified by remarkable appearances in of Egypt'-'made the Jordan a border them. In this way eclipses of the between the tribes'-—'made David the sun and moon, comets, meteors, fallhead of the heathen ;' and so in innu- ing stars, &c., serve as signs, i. e as merable other instances. As therefore preternatural tokens or monitions of the rainbow was made or constituted a the divine agency in the sight of men. sign, though it might have existed be- This is the genuine force of the original, fore, so the sun, moon, and stars, may which very often conveys the idea of a be said to have been made and set as miraculous interference or manifestalights in the firmament, on the fourth tion. Ps. 65. 8. "They also that dwell day, though actually called into exist in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy ence on the first, or previously. The tokens (7757 signs).' That they same result had indeed been really ef- may have been designed also to subfected by the same means during the serve important purposes in the variprevious three days and nights, but ous economy of human life, as in afthese luminaries were henceforth by fording signs to the mariner to aid him their rising and setting, to be the visible in navigation, and to the husbandman means of producing this separation or to guide him in regard to the proper succession. - Lights. Heb. 07har seasons for ploughing, sowing, plantlighters, instruments of illumination, ing, pruning, reaping, is not improblight-bearers, light-dispensers. The ori- able, though we think this not so ginal word is different from that render- strictly the true import of the origied 'light' (978) v. 3.- I To divide nal. But it is certain they have anthe day, foc. Heb. "To separate between swered for this end, and perhaps, were the day and between the night.' so designed.--TAnd for seasons. Heb, Let them be for signs. That is, let077872 set or appointed times; from a signs be observed by means of them. root (794) signifying to fix by previous The manner in which the heavenly bo- appointment. The phrase points not dies were destined to serve for 'signs,'| only to the seasons of the year, which in the sense in which that term gene- are regulated by the course of the sun, rally occurs in the Scriptures, may be and to the computation of months and learned from such passages as the fol- years, but also to fasts, feasts, and lowing ; Luke 21. 25. 'And there shall other religious solemnities, such as were be signs in the sun, and in the moon, appointed to be observed by the people and in the stars; and upon the earth of Israel. Compare Is. 66. 23. 1 Chron. distress of nations with perplexity; the 23. 31. Ps. 104. 19. And for days sea and the waves roaring.' Acts 2. and years. As the word 'for' is here 19, 20. 'And I will show wonders in omitted before 'years,' though occurthe heavens above, and signs in the ring before each of the other terms, the earth beneath; blood and fire and va- sense of the phrase is undoubtedly 'for por of smoke; The sun shall be turned days even years;' implying that a day into darkness and the moon into blood is often to be taken for a year, as is the before that great and notable day of the case in prophetical computation. See Lord come. They answer this end, Ezck. 4.6. Dan. 9. 24, 25. Of two words