Genesis 1

1The creation of heaven and earth, 3of the light, 6of the firmament. 9The earth separated from the waters, and made fruitful. 14The creation of the sun, moon, and stars, 20of fish and fowl, 24of beasts and cattle, 26of man in the image of God; and his blessing. 29The appointment of food.

1IN the 1beginninga God 2created the 3heaven and the earth.

1 From the creation of all creatures, which by creation received their being; because there was none of them before; only God was and is without beginning, Psalm 90:2; Prov. 8:22, 23; Col. 1:17, compare this with John 1:1.

a Job 38:4; Psalm 33:6; 89:11; 136:5; Acts 14:15; 17:24; Heb. 11:3.

2To create, in this chapter and elsewhere, is as much as to say, to make some excellent thing, that was not before; whether it be out of nothing, verse 1, or out of somewhat else that was first created out of nothing, as verses 21, 27. Of the Hebrew word Elohim, rendered God here, see Gen. 20 on verse 13.

3 By the heaven, or heavens (the Hebrews not using the word in the singular number) and earth, there may be understood in this first verse, either the heaven and the earth as they were created on the first day, or, all this world with all the creatures of heaven and earth therein contained, compare Gen. 2:1.

2And the 4earth was without 5form, and void; and darkness was 6upon the face of the deep. And the 7Spirit of God 8moved 9upon the face of the waters.

4 Understand here the earth which now is, so namely, as it was created in that beginning on the first day, and not as it became or was fashioned afterwards, by the ensuing work of creation.

5 Hebr. wasteness, or deformity, and emptiness or vanity; which is said of the earth, being destitute yet of that shape, order, distinctness, comeliness, usefulness and inhabitants, which afterwards are therein created. The Hebrew words here used, do elsewhere in Holy Writ imply the utmost devastation and desolation, hideousness, vanity, nothingness or emptiness of anything. See Deut. 32:10; 1 Sam. 12:21; Job 12:24; Psalm 107:40; 1Sa. 34:11; 44:9; Jer. 4:23.

6 Hebr. upon the face of the abyss, that is, upon the deep and unfathomable waters, which covered the earth like a garment, and stood above the mountains, Psalm 104:6. See 2 Pet. 3:5.

7 Understand here by the word Spirit, the Holy Ghost; not the wind, which was not as yet created.

8 Or, bestirred himself. Understand to sustain the first being and condition of the earth and waters as they were then, that through the powerful operation of the Spirit, there would be brought forth thence such excellent creatures. It seems to be a similitude of fowls and birds as sitting on their eggs to bring forth young ones from them, and afterwards do hover and flutter over them, to tend, ease and cherish them in their feeble condition. See Deut. 32:11.

9 Or, on the waters. That is, upon the uppermost part of the waters that covered the earth.

3And God 10said, Let there be 11light: and there was light.

10 God’s saying is His will, His command and deed, Psalm 33:9; 148:5, which He did execute by His essential Word, Which is God, and has been with God from eternity, Psalm 33:6; John 1:1, 2.

11 A clear, bright, luminous substance, enlightening the dark lump, and by its circuit constituting day and night.

4And God 12saw the light, that it was 13good: and God 14divided the light from the darkness.

12 Spoken of God after the manner of men. The meaning is: God acknowledged His creatures good.

13 That is called good here, which is pleasing to God, goodly and lovely in itself, useful and serviceable to the creature, especially to man.

14 Namely, so as that the light succeeded the darkness, and the darkness the light, to make up night and day.

5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the 15evening and the morning were the 16first day.

15 That is, night and day, making up one natural day together, which with the Hebrews began with the evening (the darkness having been before the light) and ended with the approach of the next evening, comprehending twenty four hours.

16 Hebr. one day, but it is very usual with the Hebrews to put one for first, as Gen. 8:5; Num. 29:1; Mat. 28:1; 1 Cor. 16:2.

6¶Andb God said, Let there be a 17firmamentc in the midst of the waters, and 18let it divide the 19waters from the waters.

b Psalm 33:6; 104:2; 136:5; Prov. 8:28; Isa. 42:5; Jer. 10:12; 51:15.

17 Or, expansion. The Hebrew word here used, comes from a root that signifies to spread forth, or stretch abroad, etc. And by it there is to be understood here, all the space that is comprehended between the nethermost and uppermost waters.

c sky; the vault or expanse of the heavens*

18 Hebr. be making division.

19 Which are explained in the next verse.

7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters 20which were underd the firmament from the 21waters which were abovee the firmament: and it was so.

20 Namely, within and upon the earth. Hebr. that are from under etc. Also verse 9.

d Psalm 33:7; 136:6; Prov. 8:24.

21 Hebr. the waters which were from above, etc. Understand the clouds, which are carried above the nethermost part of this expanded space, or some other waters which may have taken their place in the upper region after the division.

e Psalm 148:4.

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

9¶And God said, Letf the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, 22and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

f Job 26:10; 38:8; Psalm 24:2; 33:7; 136:6.

22 By this it appears that previously the entire surface of the earth had been covered with water, even the mountains themselves, as was noted above on verse 2.

10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he 23Seas: and God saw that it was good.

23 Not Sea, but Seas; in regard that the Hebrews do thereby understand not only the Main Sea, as Eccl. 1:7, but likewise all other seas, pools, lakes, and gatherings of all waters. See Gen. 14:3; Exod. 14:13; Num. 34:11; Mat. 4:18; John 21:1, and elsewhere.

11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding 24seed, and the 25fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

24 That is, such as of itself does yield, bring forth, bear, and shed seeds; also verses 12, 29.

25 Hebr. wood of fruit.

12And the earth brought forth 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.

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

14¶And God said, Letg there be 26lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and 27let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

g Psalm 136:7.

26 See Psalm 74:16.

27 That is, they may serve for the marking out the different occasions of times and seasons, as Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter; the lengthening, shortening, and equalizing of days, the eclipses etc., together with the observation and maintenance of certain days, weeks, months, and years, in ecclesiastical as well as in political and civic affairs concerning this life.

15Andh let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

h Deut. 4:19; Jer. 31:35.

16And God made 28two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the 29lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

28 Namely, the sun and the moon, which are called great with respect to their outward shape, as they appear in our eyes, and their excellent operations.

29 Namely, in comparison to the sun.

17And God 30set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

30 Hebr. gave them.

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

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

20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly 31the moving creature that hath 32life, and fowl that may fly above the earth 33in the open firmament of heaven.

31 The Hebrew word is here taken for such creatures which move themselves with swimming in the sea and other waters; though it is also used for the flying creatures in the air, Lev. 11:20, and for those which crawl upon the earth, Lev. 11:44.

32 Hebr. soul. Understand thereby the animals, which live and are sensible, and move themselves by such a cause.

33 Hebr. in, (or to) the face of the, etc.

21And God 34created great whales, and every living creature that 35moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every 36winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

34 See the annotation on verse 1.

35 The Hebrew word signifies not only the swimming creature, as here and Lev. 11:46 and Psalm 69:34, but also what crawls upon the earth, or goes thereon by lifting up the feet and tread on it, as verses 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 6:20; 7:8; Psalm 104:20.

36 Hebr. every fowl of the wing; and so likewise Psalm 78:27.

22And God 37blessed them, saying, Bei fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

37 That is, God gave them strength to maintain and to increase their kind by propagation. See below verse 28 and more elsewhere.

i Gen. 8:17.

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

24¶And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living 38creature after his kind, 39cattle, and 40creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

38 Hebr. soul. See verse 20.

39 The Hebrew word signifies here all manner of tame four-footed beasts, moving among men, and serviceable for their work, food and raiment.

40 See on verse 21.

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

26¶And God said, 41Let us make 42man 43in our 44image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over 45the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over 46the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

41 God speaks here in the plural number, as He does likewise immediately after, saying, after our image, after our likeness; and as consulting with Himself (after the manner of men) to represent unto us the Divine Trinity, and the worthiness of this last creature, man.

42 That is, male and female, as appears by the sequel, let them have dominion and from verse 27, and Gen. 5:2.

43 Or, according to our image.

44 These two words, image and likeness, seem to have one and the same signification, in regard that in this matter each one is sometimes put in lieu of both. See the next verse, and Gen. 5:1. By image and likeness there is principally to be understood, the true knowledge of God, Col. 3:10, true righteousness and holiness, Eph. 4:24.

45 Hebr. fish, that is, fishes, as also verse 28.

46 This word is taken here in a broader sense than verse 24, where it is distinguished from the savage beasts, which here are comprehended under the Hebrew word behema.

27So God created man inj his own image, in the image 47of God created he him; malek and female created he them.

j Gen. 5:1; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10.

47 That is, not after the image of man who was created, as the foregoing words might be construed; but after the image of God, Who did create him. Compare Gen. 5:1; 9:6.

k Mat. 19:4.

28And God 48blessed them, and God said unto them, Bel fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that 49moveth upon the earth.

48 See the annotation on verse 22; though this word is of a larger comprehension here, as the text itself shows.

l Gen. 8:17; 9:1, 2, 7.

49 See on verse 21.

29¶And God said, Behold, Im have given you every herb bearing seed, which is 50upon 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.n

m Gen. 9:3; Psalm 104:14, 15.

50 Or, upon the whole earth. Hebr. upon the face of all the earth, etc.

n food of any kind*

30Ando 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, 51I have given 52every green herb for meat:p and it was so.

o Psalm 104:14.

51 The words, I have given, are inserted here out of the foregoing verse.

52 Hebr. all the green or verdure of the herb.

p food of any kind*

31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, 53behold, itq was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

53 These words, behold, and very, are added here by Moses, the better to express the greatness and excellency of this work, and the extraordinary delight of God which He has had in all His work, and especially in the creation of man.

q Deut. 32:4; Mark 7:37.