Sunday, November 28, 2004

Genesis 2:6-19: My Own Translation and Comments

Genesis 2:6
And a mist came up from the earth and this is how all the surface of the ground was watered.

The word for WATERED is hiphil so it has something a sense of causative. The face of the ground is the ancient turn of phrase—probably means surface of the ground.

Genesis 2:7
The LORD God formed man out of the dust from the earth and breathed in his nose the breath of life and man became a living soul.

Certainly there is word play in that man and earth have a similar sound. Earth is what man is made of. The connection is a continual reminder of the man’s but made of the dirt, soil, earth, or land. The three verbal actions is a three phases of the creation of God; forming, breathing and then the end state of those two processes, a living soul. The becoming a living soul is an equational clause and so does not have a normal verb.

Genesis 2:8
The LORD God planted a garden in Eden, which is in the east, and there he placed the man that he had made.

The important verbs here are planted and placed. In both cases we have verbs that in a sense are God’s arrangement of his creation, the third verb is in distinction of the other two due to its placement in a relative clause. It is how the LORD God is geographically arranging his creation. Man is of the earth and so a special place in the earth is made for him. It is a perfect environment for him. Organization of the creation is always an aspect of God’s creation. “From the east” seems to be in reference from the writer of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 2:9
The LORD God cause every trees that is good to look at to spring from the earth and good for eating, and the tree of life was in the middle of the garden and the tree of knowing both good and evil.

Notice that the first criteria for the trees to be placed in the garden is beauty, then second is its usefulness for food. “Tree of life” is a noun in construct so that the genitive English form is derived from a Hebrew form that has only two nouns in it. The noun in construct for the “Tree of knowledge of good and evil” is much more complex. The adjectives good and evil are both applied to knowledge. It is really not good or evil but rather good and evil. The word good is used at the beginning of the verse to indicate good for eating and then later applied to the knowledge of good and evil. The use of the word for good is built for euphony and interest. But there is an emphasis of the trees being an environment that is good to be within the garden. This is not a mere functional environment but a good one.

Genesis 2:10
And a river went out from Eden for the purpose of watering the garden and from there it was divided to become four heads.

Here we have a purpose for the river, that is to water the Garden of Eden but then it so happens to become four water sources. I’m not sure why. The verb to divide is niphil, and therefore has a sense of passivity.

Genesis 2:11
The name of the first is Peshon that encompasses the whole land of Havelah where there is gold.

Genesis 2:12
The gold of the land is good, there is bdellium and onyx stone.

Genesis 2:13
The name of the second is Gihon, this is the same surrounds the land of Cush.

The Garden of Eden is often thought to be east of Ur of the Chaldees, however, Cush is south of Egypt. There is an apparent contradiction here, but of course that is based on the assumption that the geography before the flood has some relevance to that afterwards. Given all the geographic details given, it seems more a more likely solution is that Cush is not that of Africa, but another Cush.

Genesis 2:14
The name of the third river is Hedekel, that is it goes toward the east of Assyria, the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and care for it.

Genesis 2:16
The LORD God commanded the man saying, “Eat heartily of all the trees of the Garden”.

This way that the eating is described is “eat eatingly”, which does not make sense in English. This construct is an intensifier. It does not just say that you may, but commands that one should eat of all the trees with gusto.

Genesis 2:17
“From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil do not eat from it because in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Again in this verse as in 16 there is a construct but this time it give an intensifier for dying.

Genesis 2:18
The LORD God said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper for him.”

Genesis 2:19
The LORD God formed from the earth every creature of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought to Adam to see what he would call it and every creature that Adam named, that was its name.

The Main Message: God placed man in a perfect environment, a garden with animals. He was to till the earth and name the animals; working with his hands and his minds. These callings are still with us and should be embraced, not endured.
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