Imágenes de páginas

ed prior to this period, no information is ginal 1777 ruahh is the proper term for given, because it did not fall within the breath or wind, whence some commenscope of the objects of a divine revela- tators take it to mean a 'wind of God," tion. "The Bible instructs us that man, i. e. a mighty wind, which was now and other living things, have been plac- made to agitate the chaotic mass. This, ed but a few years upon the earth; and however, is less likely, as it does not the physical monuments of the world appear that the atniosphere was now bear witness to the same truth. If the created, nor is the idea compatible with astronomer tells us of myriads of worlds the kind of motion indicated by the epinot spoken of in the sacred records, the thet that follows. Others therefore with geologist in like manner proves (not by more probability interpret it of the diarguments from analogy, but by the vine agency, efficiency, or energy, the incontrovertible evidence of physical undoubted sense of the phrase in nume phenomena), that there were former rous other instances, as particularly conditions of our planet, separated from Job 26. 13, 'By his spirit he hath gareach other by vast intervals of time, nished the heavens; his hand has formduring which man and the other crea- ed the crooked serpent.' Ps. 33. 6, ‘By tures of his own date, had not been the word of the Lord were the heavens called into being. Periods such as these made; and all the host of them by the belong not, therefore, to the moral his- breath of his mouth (773 77702).' Ps. tory of our race, and come neither 104. 30,"Thou sendest forth thy spirit, within the letter nor the spirit of revelation. Between the first creation of (777??) they are created ; and thou rethe earth, and that day in which it newest the face of the earth ;' in all pleased God to place man upon it

, who that of power. That the phrase is here

which cases the predominant idea is shall dare to define the interval? On this question Scripture is silent, but to be understood in allusion to a per

sonal distinction in the Godhead, cannot, that silence destroys not the meaning of those physical monuments of his Moved upon the face of the waters.

we think, be positively affirmed.power that God has put before our eyes, Heb. nonina was moving, or rather giving us at the same time faculties whereby we may interpret them, and was hovering. The original implies a comprehend their meaning. Sedgwick. gentle waving or fluttering motion, like

-1 Darkness. The mere privation that of a bird over its young. Thus, of light, and therefore not an object of Deut. 32. 11, ' As an eagle stirreth up her

nest, fluttereth (977779) over her young, creation. -9 The deep. Heb. 0770 tchom. That is, the vast mass of waters spreadeth abroad her wings,'&c. What circumfused around the globe, with ever may have been the nature or effect

of the operation described in these which it was originally 'covered as with

words, it appears to have been put forth a garment,' Ps. 104. 6, and which were not yet 'laid up in store-houses,' i. e., upon the terrestrial mass in its chaotic distributed into seas, oceans, lakes, and the six days. For this reason this

state previous to the creative work of subterraneous receptacles. Ps. 33. 7. The original word is generally rendered clause ought not to be separated by a in the Gr. version by aBvoous abyss, a lin some editions of the English Bible,

period from the preceding, as is the case term occasionally used in reference to since the whole verse really forms a deep subterranean caverns and recesses continuous and closely connected narin the earth, in which the presence of rative. water is not implied. But that sense is 3. And God said That is, willed ; evidently inadmissible here.

- Spirit efficaciously purposed; decreed within of God. Heb. 0173 1779. The ori- I himself--a very frequent sense of the the Spirit of God moved upon the 4 And God saw the light, that face of the waters.

it was good : and God divided the 3 d And God said, . Let there light from the darkness. be light: and there was light.

d Ps. 33. 9.

e 2 Cor. 4. 6.

ny vo

word 'say' in the Scriptures. It is not nary shone forth in unclouded lustre, to be supposed that there was 50 by a renewed operation of divine cal utterance. Indeed, throughout the power upon the benighted soul, 'God, narrative the phrase, he said,' is sim- who commanded the light to shine out ply equivalent to 'he willed.' 'God's of darkness, shineth in our hearts to speaking is his willing, and his willing give us the light of the knowledge of is his doing. Bp. Hall. - I Let there the glory of God, in the face of Jesus be light. The sacred writer having in Christ.' v. 2, described the condition of the globe 4. That it was good. Good, as anin its pre-existing chaotic state, now swering the end for which it was made, enters upon the details of that stupen- and good in the sense of pleasant, gratedous process by which the whole was ful, refreshing. Thus Eccles. 11. 7, reduard into order, and converted into "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant the grand fabric of the heavens and the (Heb. good) thing it is for the eyes to earth as they now appear. The first behold the sun.'— Divided the light step was giving visibility to light, an from the darkness. Heb. "separated element emanating, as we shall shortly between the light and between the dark. see, from the sun, and diffused in the ness.' This must mean something regions of space around the exterior more than 'distinguished between light surface of the globe, but not at this and darkness, as this was effectually time penetrating the dense mass of done by the bare creation of light, an aqueous and aerial fluids by which it element in its own nature directly opwas surrounded. To this the Psalmist posite to, and therefore perfectly distinalludes, Ps. 104. 2, "Who coverest guished from, darkness. The divisical' (thyself) with light as with a garment,' of the light from the darkness here where, fom a misconception of the spoken of is undoubtedly the 'succeswriter's scope, our translators have in- sion' of the one to the other, arising serted 'thyself,' instead of the earth,' from the revolution of the earth round the proper term; as it will be evidentits axis,-a strong confirmation of the upon inspection, that the Psalmist's opinion that the sun had already been drift is to recite the successive grada- brought into being. As to the expetions in the work of creation, and from dient fancied by some commentators thence to derive matter of praise to the of a temporary luminary, 'an auroraGreat Architect. So also in the moral like meteor,' to perform the office of the creation, there is first a' true light which sun for the three first days and nights, lighteneth every man that cometh into we see not why Omnipotence should the world,' but as the light of the sun have resorted to it when the production did not at first pierce through the su- of the sun itself was equally easy; and perficial gloom that covered the globe, that the letter of the record does not 80 the spiritual light shineth in dark- militate with this supposition we shall ness, and the darkness comprehendeth endeavor to show in the note on v. 14. it not,' i. e. admitteth it not; but as on It may here be remarked, that the inihe fourth day every interposing me- terpretation which has sometimes been dium to the light of the natural sun given to the word 'light,'as implying was removed, and that bright lumi-l a subtle, ethereal, all-pervading fluid,

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

f Ps. 74. 16. & 104. 20.

which produces light from being excited created, and should begin to express by appropriate agents, and of which their thoughts by language. Yet a great philosophers have imagined the sun to degree of uncertainty rests upon the be the great exciting instrument, re- etymology of the word. The supposition ceives no countenance from the predom- of Gesenius is perhaps as probable as inant usage of the word in the sacred any other, viz. that it comes by a slight writers. The notion of a light which softening of the guttural 17 from DNT does not actually shine is entirely for- (0777, 070) to be warm, hot, to glow with eign to the simplicity of the primeval heat; analogous to which is the Arabic tongue; and though we neither affirm yahina, to glow with anger. This in renor deny the theory as a matter of ference to the sultry climate of the East, science, we are confident that such an would seem to be a very suitable desig. interpretation is doing great violence to nation of the day as distinguished from the meaning of words; nor would it the night. In either case it cannot be probably ever have found a place in the doubled, that there was in some way a explication of the Mosaic cosmogony, peculiar intrinsic adaptedness in the had it not been for the purpose of solv- terms appropriated to day and night, to ing the supposed difficulty in the histo- point out the distinguishing nature of rian's statement that light was created each, as otherwise it is not easy to see on the first day, and yet the sun not why the original words 778 or, light, till the fourth. This difficulty we trust and 701 hoshek, darkness should not will appear on a subsequent page to be have answered the purpose equally altogether imaginary, and consequently well. And so in regard to the names the proposed key to it entirely useless. heaven' and 'earth’ bestowed on the

5. And God called the light Day. firmament and the dry land. What This phrase is somewhat remarkable in may be the bearing of these passages this place. As there were now no human on the question touching the primitive beings to make use of language, and language of the human race, would be as God himself could stand in no need a very interesting subject of inquiry, of articulate words to express either his but one into which it falls not within will or his works, it is not at once ob- the compass of our present plan to envious in what way the clause is to be ter. And the evening and the mornunderstood. For the most part, by ing were the first day. Heb. 'And thero God's calling any thing by a particu- was evening and there was morning, lar name is meant rather a declaration one day (1774 67yom ahad).' The of the nature, character, or qualities of evening is probably mentioned first bethe thing named, than the mere be cause the darkness preceded the light. stowment of an appellation by which on the ground of this recorded order it should be ordinarily known. In the of things in the sacred narrative, the present case, therefore, it is probably to Jews commenced their day of twentybe understood that there was something four hours from the evening. Lev. 23. in the import of the word 579 yom, day 32.—The reniark of Josephus on this which rendered it a peculiarly appropri- clause is worthy of note. He observes, ate term by which to express the diur- This was indeed the first day; but nal continuance of light, and one that Moses said it was one day; the cause he would have to be employed by men of which I am able to give even now; or this purpose when they should be l but because I have promised to give

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

& 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 (0702 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 (7227 tains in regard to each of these terms. yomu);' and in Is. 30. 8, for all future As to the numeral 774 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 (277) port seems to be that of certain, pecu- 77008 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. 772 374 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' could a single evening and morning Heb. 0:08 1739 one evil, i. e. an evil of 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 plural. 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. vuxonuepu, 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 certoin, 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 anthority 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- 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. 1 above the firmament: and it was

h Prov. 8. 28. i Ps. 148. 4.

[ocr errors]

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 firmament comes from a root a stone in a bucket of water, without (Yp7) 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 sulsiance. 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.'

I Let it ly prominent in the present use of the divide. Heb. 3972n let it be separating, term, yet subordinate to this is the idea i. e. let it continue to separate. The of a 'firmament (Gr. supewa), 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. 37an 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 ex. It is the usage of the Scriptures to de- panse left void by their separation was scribe the things of the naturai world called by the name of 'firmament,' or as they appear, as they strike the eyes heuven.' 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 jar 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,' correct the impressions of the senses, which are above,' &c.; 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


« AnteriorContinuar »