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Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary - (Genesis)

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Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary - (Genesis)

submitted 2012-01-15 16:04:58
AN
EXPOSITION,
W I T H P R A C T I C A L O B S E R V A T I O N S,
OF THE FIRST BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED
G E N E S I S.
WE have now before us the holy Bible, or book, for so bible signifies. We call it the book, by way of eminency; for it is incomparably the best book that ever was written, the book of books, shining like the sun in the firmament of learning, other valuable and useful books, like the moon and stars, borrowing their light from it. We call it the holy book, because it was written by holy men, and indited by the Holy Ghost; it is perfectly pure from all falsehood and corrupt intention; and the manifest tendency of it is to promote holiness among men. The great things of God's law and gospel are here written to us, that they might be reduced to a greater certainty, might spread further, remain longer, and be transmitted to distant places and ages more pure and entire than possibly they could be by report and tradition: and we shall have a great deal to answer for if these things which belong to our peace, being thus committed to us in black and white, be neglected by us as a strange and foreign thing, Hos. viii. 12. The scriptures, or writings of the several inspired penmen, from Moses down to St. John, in which divine light, like that of the morning, shone gradually (the sacred canon being now completed), are all put together in this blessed Bible, which, thanks be to God, we have in our hands, and they make as perfect a day as we are to expect on this side of heaven. Every part was good, but all together very good. This is the light that shines in a dark place (2 Pet. i. 19), and a dark place indeed the world would be without the Bible.
We have before us that part of the Bible which we call the Old Testament, containing the acts and monuments of the church from the creation almost to the coming of Christ in the flesh, which was about four thousand years--the truths then revealed, the laws then enacted, the devotions then paid, the prophecies then given, and the events which concerned that distinguished body, so far as God saw fit to preserve to us the knowledge of them. This is called a testament, or covenant (Diatheke), because it was a settled declaration of the will of God concerning man in a federal way, and had its force from the designed death of the great testator, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, (Rev. xiii. 8.) It is called the Old Testament, with relation to the New, which does not cancel and supersede it, but crown and perfect it, by the bringing in of that better hope which was typified and foretold in it; the Old Testament still remains glorious, though the New far exceeds in glory, (2 Cor. iii. 9.)
We have before us that part of the Old Testament which we call the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses, that servant of the Lord who excelled all the other prophets, and typified the great prophet. In our Saviour's distribution of the books of the Old Testament into the law, the prophets, and the psalms, or Hagiographa, these are the law; for they contain not only the laws given to Israel, in the last four, but the laws given to Adam, to Noah, and to Abraham, in the first. These five books were, for aught we know, the first that ever were written; for we have not the least mention of any writing in all the book of Genesis, nor till God bade Moses write (Exod. xvii. 14); and some think Moses himself never learned to write till God set him his copy in the writing of the Ten Commandments upon the tables of stone. However, we are sure these books are the most ancient writings now extant, and therefore best able to give us a satisfactory account of the most ancient things.
We have before us the first and longest of those five books, which we call Genesis, written, some think, when Moses was in Midian, for the instruction and comfort of his suffering brethren in Egypt: I rather think he wrote it in the wilderness, after he had been in the mount with God, where, probably, he received full and particular instructions for the writing of it. And, as he framed the tabernacle, so he did the more excellent and durable fabric of this book, exactly according to the pattern shown him in the mount, into which it is better to resolve the certainty of the things herein contained than into any tradition which possibly might be handed down from Adam to Methuselah, from him to Shem, from him to Abraham, and so to the family of Jacob. Genesis is a name borrowed from the Greek. It signifies the original, or generation: fitly is this book so called, for it is a history of originals--the creation of the world, the entrance of sin and death into it, the invention of arts, the rise of nations, and especially the planting of the church, and the state of it in its early days. It is also a history of generations--the generations of Adam, Noah, Abraham, &c., not endless, but useful genealogies. The beginning of the New Testament is called Genesis too (Matt. i. 1,) Biblos geneseos, the book of the genesis, or generation, of Jesus Christ. Blessed be God for that book which shows us our remedy, as this opens our wound. Lord, open our eyes, that we may see the wondrous things both of thy law and gospel!

The Seventh Day - David DeLauro (Genesis 2:2)

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The Seventh Day - David DeLauro (Genesis 2:2)

David DeLauro submitted 2012-01-15 16:04:58

The reading of Genesis 2:2 has been debated due to variants found in the text.  In particular the word הַשְּׁבִיעִי is replaced by הַשִּׁשִּׁי in three different manuscripts.  These manuscripts include the Samaritan Hebrew Pentateuch, the Septuagint, and the Syriac version of the OT. הַשְּׁבִיעִי, is an ordinal number meaning ‘the seventh’ and הַשִּׁשִּׁי is also an ordinal number meaning ‘the sixth’.  In English the translation would either be: “and God finished on the seventh day His work which He made…” or “and God finished on the sixth day His work which He made… .”  Nahum M. Sarna comments briefly on verse two of Genesis in his work for the Genesis volume of The JPS Torah Commentary.  “On the seventh day  This phrase caused embarrassment to ancient translators and commentators, for it seems to be out of harmony with the context, implying some divine activity also on this day.”[1]  Sarna supposes that the הַשְּׁבִיעִי reading is the original and that the preposition בַּ could easily mean ‘by the’ thus alleviating any tension in the harmony of the text.  Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) uses this translation stating: “and God completeth by the seventh day His work which He hath made… .”  There are many other English translations that use this reading including the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), The Message (MSG), Contemporary English Version (CEV), and New International Version - UK (NIV-UK) to name a few.  I agree with Sarna in his evaluation and selection of the original reading of the text being “the seventh” day reading.  One of the main reasons for this choice is the author’s style in his narrative of the creation.  The narrative has a very structured pattern and to have a reading of ‘the sixth day’ would break the harmony of the pattern established in the previous 31 verses.  “The seventh day is the Lord’s Day, through which all the creativity of the preceding days achieves fulfillment…The seventh day is in polar contrast to the other six days, which are filled with creative activity.”[2]  Furthermore, I believe the other manuscripts are suffering from scribal error.  It is easy to see how the word could have been mis-copied by reading from the sixth day lines above as well as logically thinking that God finished working “on” the sixth day.  All in all I purport that literary style in this text far out weighs the logical contradiction caused by an “unclear” reading of a preposition.

Genesis 2:2

 יְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיֹּום הַשּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתֹּו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיֹּום הַשּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתֹּו אֲשֶׁר  עָשָׂה׃

God completed by the seventh day his work, which he had done, and he ceased by the seventh day from all his work which he had done.



[1] Nahum M. Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis בראשית, (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 15.

[2] ibid., 14.

 

Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary - David DeLauro (Genesis 2:1-3)

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Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary - David DeLauro (Genesis 2:1-3)

David DeLauro submitted 2012-01-15 16:04:58
The Creation.
B. C. 4004.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
We have here, I. The settlement of the kingdom of nature, in God's resting from the work of creation, [vref]; [vref]. Here observe, 1. The creatures made both in heaven and earth are the hosts or armies of them, which denotes them to be numerous, but marshalled, disciplined, and under command. How great is the sum of them! And yet every one knows and keeps his place. God uses them as his hosts for the defence of his people and the destruction of his enemies; for he is the Lord of hosts, of all these hosts, Dan. iv. 35. 2. The heavens and the earth are finished pieces, and so are all the creatures in them. So perfect is God's work that nothing can be added to it nor taken from it, Eccl. iii. 14. God that began to build showed himself well able to finish. 3. After the end of the first six days God ceased from all works of creation. He has so ended his work as that though, in his providence, he worketh hitherto (John v. 17), preserving and governing all the creatures, and particularly forming the spirit of man within him, yet he does not make any new species of creatures. In miracles, he has controlled and overruled nature, but never changed its settled course, nor repealed nor added to any of its establishments. 4. The eternal God, though infinitely happy in the enjoyment of himself, yet took a satisfaction in the work of his own hands. He did not rest, as one weary, but as one well-pleased with the instances of his own goodness and the manifestations of his own glory.
II. The commencement of the kingdom of grace, in the sanctification of the sabbath day, v.3. He rested on that day, and took a complacency in his creatures, and then sanctified it, and appointed us, on that day, to rest and take a complacency in the Creator; and his rest is, in the fourth commandment, made a reason for ours, after six days' labour. Observe, 1. The solemn observance of one day in seven, as a day of holy rest and holy work, to God's honour, is the indispensable duty of all those to whom God has revealed his holy sabbaths. 2. The way of sabbath-sanctification is the good old way, Jer. vi. 16. Sabbaths are as ancient as the world; and I see no reason to doubt that the sabbath, being now instituted in innocency, was religiously observed by the people of God throughout the patriarchal age. 3. The sabbath of the Lord is truly honourable, and we have reason to honour it--honour it for the sake of its antiquity, its great Author, the sanctification of the first sabbath by the holy God himself, and by our first parents in innocency, in obedience to him. 4. The sabbath day is a blessed day, for God blessed it, and that which he blesses is blessed indeed. God has put an honour upon it, has appointed us, on that day, to bless him, and has promised, on that day, to meet us and bless us. 5. The sabbath day is a holy day, for God has sanctified it. He has separated and distinguished it from the rest of the days of the week, and he has consecrated it and set it apart to himself and his own service and honour. Though it is commonly taken for granted that the Christian sabbath we observe, reckoning from the creation, is not the seventh but the first day of the week, yet being a seventh day, and we in it, celebrating the rest of God the Son, and the finishing of the work of our redemption, we may and ought to act faith upon this original institution of the sabbath day, and to commemorate the work of creation, to the honour of the great Creator, who is therefore worthy to receive, on that day, blessing, and honour, and praise, from all religious assemblies.

Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary - David DeLauro (Genesis 2)

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Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary - David DeLauro (Genesis 2)

David DeLauro submitted 2012-01-15 16:04:58

G E N E S I S

CHAP. II.


This chapter is an appendix to the history of the creation, more particularly explaining and enlarging upon that part of the history which relates immediately to man, the favourite of this lower world. We have in it, I. The institution and sanctification of the sabbath, which was made for man, to further his holiness and comfort (ver. 1-3). II. A more particular account of man's creation, as the centre and summary of the whole work (ver. 1-7). III. A description of the garden of Eden, and the placing of man in it under the obligations of a law and covenant (ver. 8-17). IV. The creation of the woman, her marriage to the man, and the institution of the ordinance of marriage (ver. 18, &c.).