Genesis 1:1-2:4a

Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Trinity Sunday A28


In the beginning when GodA createdB the heavensC and the earth,D 

Notes on verse 1:1

A “God” = Elohim.
B “created” = bara. This is to create, shape, choose, or select. It is the word used in Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth.
C “heavens” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
D “earth” = erets. 19x in OT. From parats (to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse; to break out literally or figuratively). This is a breach or a gap. It could be a break, whether literal or figurative.

the earth was a formlessE voidF and darknessG covered the face of the deep,H while a windI from God sweptJ over the face of the waters. 

Notes on verse 1:2

E “formless” = tohu. Root may mean a wasteland or desert. This is desolation or waste. Figuratively, it refers to emptiness, chaos, confusion, futility, something worthless or meaningless, or unreality. Used as an adverb, it can mean in vain.
F “void” = bohu. 3x in OT. Root might mean being empty. So, this is void or chaos or ruin.
G “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
H “deep” = tehom. Perhaps from hum (to roar, murmur, cause an uproar, agitate; to defeat in battle, destroy). This is the deep or the abyss. Either understood as a formless empty place of nothingness or as a place of confusion filled with water – the deep the feeds the waters of the earth.
I “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
J “swept” = rachaph. 3x in OT. This is to flutter or move or shake. It can also mean to relax or grow soft.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”;K and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good;L and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.M And there was eveningN and there was morning,O the first day.

Notes on verses 1:3-5

K “light” = or. From or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.
L “good” = tob. This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
M “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
N “evening” = ereb. This is night, dusk, or evening.
O “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.

And God said, “Let there be a domeP in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky.Q And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered togetherR into one place,S and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered togetherT he called Seas.U And God saw that it was good. 

Notes on verses 1:6-10

P “dome” = raqia. 17x in OT. From raqa (to beat the earth in a fit of passion; by analogy to hammer something so that it is spread out or spread thin; by extension, decoratively overlaying something with metal). This is an expanse or extended surface. The dome of the firmament was thought of as metal hammered out and spread thin over the arch of the sky that we can see.
Q “sky” = shamayim. Same as “heavens” in v1:1.
R “gathered together” = qavah. It can mean to bind or gather together, especially in the sense of twisting together. In that light, it can mean collect. Figuratively, this can mean to wait, await, expect, or tarry
S “place” = maqom. From qum (to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
T “gathered together” = miqveh. Related to “gathered together” in v1:9. 12x in OT From qavah (see note R above). This is something collected together, i.e. a pond or pool, a group of people or caravan, a drove. It can also be something that is awaited or hoped for.
U “seas” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

11 Then God said, “Let the earth put forthV vegetation:W plantsX yieldingY seed,Z and fruitAA treesBB of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Notes on verses 1:11-13

V “put forth” = dasha. 2x in OT. This is to sprout, bring forth, or grow green.
W “vegetation” = deshe. 15x in OT. Related to “put forth” in v1:11. From dasha (see note V above). This is sprout, grass, or tender herbs.
X “plants” = eseb. Root may mean to glisten or be green. This is grass or other herbage.
Y “yielding” = zara. This is to sow or scatter seed, conceive or yield. It can also refer to a sower. Figuratively, this can refer to other forms of dissemination.
Z “seed” = zera. Related to “yielding” in v1:11. From zara (see note Y above). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
AA “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.
BB “trees” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.

14 And God said, “Let there be lightsCC in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signsDD and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give lightEE upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made the two greatFF lights—the greater light to ruleGG the day and the lesserHH light to rule the night—and the stars.II 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to ruleJJ over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Notes on verses 1:14-19

CC “lights” = maor. Related to “light” in v1:3. 19x in OT. From or (see note K above). This is bright, light, shining, or a luminary. It is the element of light or figuratively brightness, cheerfulness. It can also mean chandelier.
DD “signs” = ot. From avah (to mark, sign, point out); OR from uth (to agree). This is a sign in a literal or figurative sense. It could be a flag or monument. It could be evidence or a mark. It could also be an omen or a miracle.  
EE “give light” = or. Related to “light” in v1:3 & “light” in v1:14. See note K above.
FF “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
GG “rule” = memshalah. 14x in OT. From mimshal (dominion, ruler, authority); from mashal (to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield). This is to rule, govern, a ream, ruler, authority, dominion, forces.
HH “lesser” = qaton. From qut (to cut off, be grieved; figuratively to detest). This is small, young, least, not important. It could be a small quantity, size, age, or importance.
II “stars” = kokab. Perhaps from the same as kavah (to prick, blister, burn, scorch). This is a star as shining, stargaze. Figuratively, can mean prince.
JJ “rule” = mashal. Related to “rule” in v1:16. See note GG above.

20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forthKK swarmsLL of livingMM creatures,NN and let birdsOO flyPP above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21 So God created the great sea monstersQQ and every living creature that moves,RR of every kind, with which the waters swarm,SS and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 

Notes on verses 1:20-21

KK “bring forth” = sharats. 14x in OT. This is to wriggle, swarm, teem, creep. So, it can mean a great increase or abundant breeding.
LL “swarms” = sherets. Related to “bring forth” in v1:20. 15x in OT. From sharats (see note KK above). This is things that swarm, creep, or teem; insects.
MM “living” = chayy. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
NN “creatures” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
OO “birds” = oph. From uph (to fly, flee, shine, be weary, be faint). This is a flying creature.
PP “fly” = uph. Related to “birds” in v1:20. See note OO above.
QQ “sea monsters” = tannin. From the same as tan (jackal, dragon, whale). This is a monster of the water or of the land.
RR “moves” = ramas. 17x in OT. This is gliding swiftly, moving with quick steps or crawling. It can be swarm or prowl or move about.
SS “swarm” = sharats. Same as “bring forth” in v1:20.

22 God blessedTT them, saying, “Be fruitfulUU and multiplyVV and fillWW the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

Notes on verses 1:22-23

TT “blessed” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
UU “be fruitful” = parah. Related to “fruit” in v1:11. See note AA above.
VV “multiply” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
WW “fill” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattleXX and creeping thingsYY and wild animalsZZ of the earth of every  kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the groundAAA of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

Notes on verses 1:24-25

XX “cattle” = behemah. This is animal or cattle. It is often used of large quadrupeds.
YY “creeping things” = remes. Related to “moves” in v1:21. 17x in OT. From ramas (see note RR above). This is things that move rapidly or creep such as reptiles.
ZZ “wild animals” = chayy. Same as “living” in v1:20. See note MM above.
AAA “ground” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankindBBB in our image,CCC according to our likeness;DDD and let them have dominionEEE over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,[ and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

Notes on verse 1:26

BBB “humankind” = adam. Related to “ground” in v1:25. Perhaps from adam (see note AAA above). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
CCC “image” = tselem. 17x in OT. Root may mean to shade. This is a phantom, resemblance, illusion, image, or an idol.
DDD “likeness” = demuth. From damah (to resemble, liken, compare, consider, think). This is likeness, figure, model, shape, manner, or pattern.
EEE “have dominion” = radah. This is to tread down, prevail against, rule, or have dominion.

27 So God created humankind in his image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    maleFFF and femaleGGG he created them.

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdueHHH it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 

Notes on verses 1:27-28

FFF “male” = zakar. From zakar (to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention). This is male. Properly, perhaps, it means one who is remembered, which is to say a male.
GGG “female” = neqebah. From naqab (to pierce, bore holes, puncture; to make a hole more or less forcefully; also to curse or libel). This is female or woman from an anatomical reference.
HHH “subdue” = kabash. 14x in OT. This is to subdue, tread down, trample, disregard, violate, assault, or conquer.

29 God said, “See,III I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beastJJJ of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breathKKK of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed,LLL it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Notes on verses 1:29-31

III “see” = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
JJJ “beast” = chayy. Same as “living” in v1:20 & “wild animals” in v1:24. See note MM above.
KKK “breath” = nephesh. Same as “creatures” in v1:20. See note NN above.
LLL “indeed” = hinneh. Same as “see” in v1:29. See note III above.

2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished,MMM and all their multitude.NNN And on the seventh day God finished the workOOO that he had done, and he restedPPP on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.

So God blessed the seventh day and hallowedQQQ it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generationsRRR of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LordSSS God made the earth and the heavens,

Notes on verses 2:1-4

MMM “finished” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.
NNN “multitude” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
OOO “work” = melakah. From the same as malak (messenger, an angel, or a deputy; human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God; also supernatural messengers i.e. angels). Properly, this is a deputyship or some kind of work. It can also be the product that comes from labor.
PPP “rested” = shabath. This is to rest, stop, repose, cease working. It implies to celebrate (as celebrating the Sabbath).
QQQ “hallowed” = qadash.From qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy). This is set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified. This is something or someone that is set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean.
RRR “generations” = toledoth. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is generations descent, family, or history.
SSS “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

Image Credit: “Tribe of Simeon” by Marc Chagall, 1964.

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