Genesis 1:1




-Year before the common era of Christ, 4004.

-Julian Period, 710.

-Cycle of the Sun, 10.

-Dominical Letter, B.

-Cycle of the Moon, 7.

-Indiction, 5.

-Creation from Tisri or September, 1.


First day's work-Creation of the heavens and the earth, 1, 2.

Of the light and its separation from the darkness, 3-5.

Second day's work-The creation of the firmament, and the separation

of the waters above the firmament from those below it, 6-8.

Third day's work-The waters are separated from the earth and formed

into seas, &c., 9,10.

The earth rendered fruitful, and clothed with trees, herbs, grass,

&c., 11-13.

Fourth day's work-Creation of the celestial luminaries intended for

the measurement of time, the distinction of periods, seasons, &c., 14;

and to illuminate the earth, 15.

Distinct account of the formation of the sun, moon, and stars, 16-19.

Fifth day's work-The creation of fish, fowls, and reptiles in general,


Of great aquatic animals, 21.

They are blessed so as to make them very prolific, 22, 23.

Sixth day's work-Wild and tame cattle created, and all kinds of animals

which derive their nourishment from the earth, 24, 25.

The creation of man in the image and likeness of God, with the dominion

given him over the earth and all inferior animals, 26.

Man or Adam, a general name for human beings, including both male and

female, 27.

Their peculiar blessing, 28.

Vegetables appointed as the food of man and all other animals, 29, 30.

The judgment which God passed on his works at the conclusion of his

creative acts, 31.


Verse 1. Bereshith bara

Elohim eth hashshamayim veeth haarets; GOD in the beginning

created the heavens and the earth.

Many attempts have been made to define the term GOD: as to the

word itself, it is pure Anglo-Saxon, and among our ancestors

signified, not only the Divine Being, now commonly designated by

the word, but also good; as in their apprehensions it appeared

that God and good were correlative terms; and when they thought or

spoke of him, they were doubtless led from the word itself to

consider him as THE GOOD BEING, a fountain of infinite benevolence

and beneficence towards his creatures.

A general definition of this great First Cause, as far as human

words dare attempt one, may be thus given: The eternal,

independent, and self-existent Being: the Being whose purposes and

actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence:

he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple,

and most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent,

beneficent, true, and holy: the cause of all being, the upholder

of all things; infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect; and

eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made:

illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of

existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only to

himself, because an infinite mind can be fully apprehended only by

itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot

err or be deceived; and who, from his infinite goodness, can do

nothing but what is eternally just, right, and kind. Reader, such

is the God of the Bible; but how widely different from the God of

most human creeds and apprehensions!

The original word Elohim, God, is certainly the plural

form of El, or Eloah, and has long been supposed, by

the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of

Persons in the Divine nature. As this plurality appears in so

many parts of the sacred writings to be confined to three Persons,

hence the doctrine of the TRINITY, which has formed a part of the

creed of all those who have been deemed sound in the faith, from

the earliest ages of Christianity. Nor are the Christians

singular in receiving this doctrine, and in deriving it from the

first words of Divine revelation. An eminent Jewish rabbin, Simeon

ben Joachi, in his comment on the sixth section of Leviticus, has

these remarkable words: "Come and see the mystery of the word

Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone,

and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in

one, and are not divided from each other." See Ainsworth. He

must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the

doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in

the above words. The verb bara, he created, being joined in

the singular number with this plural noun, has been considered as

pointing out, and not obscurely, the unity of the Divine Persons

in this work of creation. In the ever-blessed Trinity, from the

infinite and indivisible unity of the persons, there can be but

one will, one purpose, and one infinite and uncontrollable energy.

"Let those who have any doubt whether Elohim, when

meaning the true God, Jehovah, be plural or not, consult the

following passages, where they will find it joined with

adjectives, verbs, and pronouns plural.

"Ge 1:26 3:22 11:7 20:13 31:7, 53 35:7.

"De 4:7 5:23 Jos 24:19 1Sa 4:8 2Sa 7:23

"Ps 58:6 Isa 6:8 Jer 10:10 23:36.

"See also Pr 9:10 30:3 Ps 149:2 Ec 5:7 12:1;

"Job 5:1 Isa 6:3 54:5 62:5 Ho 11:12,

or Ho 12:1 Mal 1:6 Da 5:18, 20 7:18, 22."-PARKHURST.

As the word Elohim is the term by which the Divine Being is

most generally expressed in the Old Testament, it may be necessary

to consider it here more at large. It is a maxim that admits of

no controversy, that every noun in the Hebrew language is derived

from a verb, which is usually termed the radix or root, from

which, not only the noun, but all the different flections of the

verb, spring. This radix is the third person singular of the

preterite or past tense. The ideal meaning of this root expresses

some essential property of the thing which it designates, or of

which it is an appellative. The root in Hebrew, and in its sister

language, the Arabic, generally consists of three letters, and

every word must be traced to its root in order to ascertain its

genuine meaning, for there alone is this meaning to be found. In

Hebrew and Arabic this is essentially necessary, and no man can

safely criticise on any word in either of these languages who does

not carefully attend to this point.

I mention the Arabic with the Hebrew for two reasons. 1.

Because the two languages evidently spring from the same source,

and have very nearly the same mode of construction. 2. Because

the deficient roots in the Hebrew Bible are to be sought for in

the Arabic language. The reason of this must be obvious, when it

is considered that the whole of the Hebrew language is lost except

what is in the Bible, and even a part of this book is written in

Chaldee. Now, as the English Bible does not contain the whole of

the English language, so the Hebrew Bible does not contain the

whole of the Hebrew. If a man meet with an English word which he

cannot find in an ample concordance or dictionary to the Bible, he

must of course seek for that word in a general English dictionary.

In like manner, if a particular form of a Hebrew word occur that

cannot be traced to a root in the Hebrew Bible, because the word

does not occur in the third person singular of the past tense in

the Bible, it is expedient, it is perfectly lawful, and often

indispensably necessary, to seek the deficient root in the Arabic.

For as the Arabic is still a living language, and perhaps the most

copious in the universe, it may well be expected to furnish those

terms which are deficient in the Hebrew Bible. And the

reasonableness of this is founded on another maxim, viz., that

either the Arabic was derived from the Hebrew, or the Hebrew from

the Arabic. I shall not enter into this controversy; there are

great names on both sides, and the decision of the question in

either way will have the same effect on my argument. For if the

Arabic were derived from the Hebrew, it must have been when the

Hebrew was a living and complete language, because such is the

Arabic now; and therefore all its essential roots we may

reasonably expect to find there: but if, as Sir William Jones

supposed, the Hebrew were derived from the Arabic, the same

expectation is justified, the deficient roots in Hebrew may be

sought for in the mother tongue. If, for example, we meet with a

term in our ancient English language the meaning of which we find

difficult to ascertain, common sense teaches us that we should

seek for it in the Anglo-Saxon, from which our language springs;

and, if necessary, go up to the Teutonic, from which the

Anglo-Saxon was derived. No person disputes the legitimacy of

this measure, and we find it in constant practice. I make these

observations at the very threshold of my work, because the

necessity of acting on this principle (seeking deficient Hebrew

roots in the Arabic) may often occur, and I wish to speak once for

all on the subject.

The first sentence in the Scripture shows the propriety of

having recourse to this principle. We have seen that the word

Elohim is plural; we have traced our term God to its

source, and have seen its signification; and also a general

definition of the thing or being included under this term, has

been tremblingly attempted. We should now trace the original to

its root, but this root does not appear in the Hebrew Bible. Were

the Hebrew a complete language, a pious reason might be given for

this omission, viz., "As God is without beginning and without

cause, as his being is infinite and underived, the Hebrew language

consults strict propriety in giving no root whence his name can be

deduced." Mr. Parkhurst, to whose pious and learned labours in

Hebrew literature most Biblical students are indebted, thinks he

has found the root in alah, he swore, bound himself by oath;

and hence he calls the ever-blessed Trinity Elohim, as being

bound by a conditional oath to redeem man, &c., &c. Most pious

minds will revolt from such a definition, and will be glad with me

to find both the noun and the root preserved in Arabic. ALLAH

[Arabic] is the common name for GOD in the Arabic tongue, and

often the emphatic [Arabic] is used. Now both these words are

derived from the root alaha, he worshipped, adored, was struck

with astonishment, fear, or terror; and hence, he adored with

sacred horror and veneration, cum sacro horrore ac veneratione

coluit, adoravit.-WILMET. Hence ilahon, fear, veneration, and

also the object of religious fear, the Deity, the supreme God, the

tremendous Being. This is not a new idea; God was considered in

the same light among the ancient Hebrews; and hence Jacob swears

by the fear of his father Isaac, Ge 31:53. To complete the

definition, Golius renders alaha, juvit, liberavit, et tutatus

fuit, "he succoured, liberated, kept in safety, or defended." Thus

from the ideal meaning of this most expressive root, we acquire

the most correct notion of the Divine nature; for we learn that

God is the sole object of adoration; that the perfections of his

nature are such as must astonish all those who piously contemplate

them, and fill with horror all who would dare to give his glory to

another, or break his commandments; that consequently he should be

worshipped with reverence and religious fear; and that every

sincere worshipper may expect from him help in all his weaknesses,

trials, difficulties, temptations, &c,; freedom from the power,

guilt, nature, and consequences of sin; and to be supported,

defended, and saved to the uttermost, and to the end.

Here then is one proof, among multitudes which shall be adduced

in the course of this work, of the importance, utility, and

necessity of tracing up these sacred words to their sources; and a

proof also, that subjects which are supposed to be out of the

reach of the common people may, with a little difficulty, be

brought on a level with the most ordinary capacity.

In the beginning] Before the creative acts mentioned in this

chapter all was ETERNITY. Time signifies duration measured by the

revolutions of the heavenly bodies: but prior to the creation of

these bodies there could be no measurement of duration, and

consequently no time; therefore in the beginning must necessarily

mean the commencement of time which followed, or rather was

produced by, God's creative acts, as an effect follows or is

produced by a cause.

Created] Caused existence where previously to this moment

there was no being. The rabbins, who are legitimate judges in a

case of verbal criticism on their own language, are unanimous in

asserting that the word bara expresses the commencement of the

existence of a thing, or egression from nonentity to entity. It

does not in its primary meaning denote the preserving or new

forming things that had previously existed, as some imagine, but

creation in the proper sense of the term, though it has some

other acceptations in other places. The supposition that God

formed all things out of a pre-existing, eternal nature, is

certainly absurd, for if there had been an eternal nature besides

an eternal God, there must have been two self-existing,

independent, and eternal beings, which is a most palpable


eth hashshamayim. The word eth, which is

generally considered as a particle, simply denoting that the word

following is in the accusative or oblique case, is often

understood by the rabbins in a much more extensive sense. "The

particle ," says Aben Ezra, "signifies the substance of the

thing." The like definition is given by Kimchi in his Book of

Roots. "This particle," says Mr. Ainsworth, "having the first

and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet in it, is supposed to

comprise the sum and substance of all things." "The particle

eth (says Buxtorf, Talmudic Lexicon, sub voce) with the

cabalists is often mystically put for the beginning and the end,

as α alpha and ω omega are in the Apocalypse." On this ground

these words should be translated, "God in the beginning created

the substance of the heavens and the substance of the earth," i.e.

the prima materia, or first elements, out of which the heavens and

the earth were successively formed. The Syriac translator

understood the word in this sense, and to express this meaning has

used the word [Arabic] yoth, which has this signification, and is

very properly translated in Walton's Polyglot, ESSE, caeli et ESSE

terrae, "the being or substance of the heaven, and the being

or substance of the earth." St. Ephraim Syrus, in his comment on

this place, uses the same Syriac word, and appears to understand

it precisely in the same way. Though the Hebrew words are

certainly no more than the notation of a case in most places, yet

understood here in the sense above, they argue a wonderful

philosophic accuracy in the statement of Moses, which brings

before us, not a finished heaven and earth, as every other

translation appears to do, though afterwards the process of their

formation is given in detail, but merely the materials out of

which God built the whole system in the six following days.

The heaven and the earth.] As the word shamayim is

plural, we may rest assured that it means more than the

atmosphere, to express which some have endeavoured to restrict

its meaning. Nor does it appear that the atmosphere is

particularly intended here, as this is spoken of, Ge 1:6, under

the term firmament. The word heavens must therefore comprehend

the whole solar system, as it is very likely the whole of this was

created in these six days; for unless the earth had been the

centre of a system, the reverse of which is sufficiently

demonstrated, it would be unphilosophic to suppose it was created

independently of the other parts of the system, as on this

supposition we must have recourse to the almighty power of God to

suspend the influence of the earth's gravitating power till the

fourth day, when the sun was placed in the centre, round which the

earth began then to revolve. But as the design of the inspired

penman was to relate what especially belonged to our world and its

inhabitants, therefore he passes by the rest of the planetary

system, leaving it simply included in the plural word heavens. In

the word earth every thing relative to the terraqueaerial globe is

included, that is, all that belongs to the solid and fluid parts

of our world with its surrounding atmosphere. As therefore I

suppose the whole solar system was created at this time, I think

it perfectly in place to give here a general view of all the

planets, with every thing curious and important hitherto known

relative to their revolutions and principal affections.







IN Table I. the quantity or the periodic and sidereal

revolutions of the planets is expressed in common years, each

containing 365 days; as, e.g., the tropical revolution of Jupiter

is, by the table, 11 years, 315 days, 14 hours, 39 minutes, 2

seconds; i.e., the exact number of days is equal to 11 years

multiplied by 365, and the extra 315 days added to the product,

which make In all 4330 days. The sidereal and periodic times are

also set down to the nearest second of time, from numbers used in

the construction of the tables in the third edition of M. de la

Lande's Astronomy. The columns containing the mean distance of

the planets from the sun in English miles, and their greatest and

least distance from the earth, are such as result from the best

observations of the two last transits of Venus, which gave the

solar parallax to be equal to 8 three-fifth seconds of a degree;

and consequently the earth's diameter, as seen from the sun, must

be the double of 8 three-fifth seconds, or 17 one-fifth seconds.

From this last quantity, compared with the apparent diameters of

the planets, as seen at a distance equal to that of the earth at

her main distance from the sun, the diameters of the planets in

English miles, as contained in the seventh column, have been

carefully computed. In the column entitled "Proportion of bulk,

the earth being 1," the whole numbers express the number of times

the other planet contains more cubic miles, &c., than the earth;

and if the number of cubic miles in the earth be given, the number

of cubic miles in any planet may be readily found by multiplying

the cubic miles contained in the earth by the number in the

column, and the product will be the quantity required.

This is a small but accurate sketch of the vast solar system;

to describe it fully, even in all its known revolutions and

connections, in all its astonishing energy and influence, in its

wonderful plan, structure, operations, and results, would require

more volumes than can be devoted to the commentary itself.

As so little can be said here on a subject so vast, it may

appear to some improper to introduce it at all; but to any

observation of this kind I must be permitted to reply, that I

should deem it unpardonable not to give a general view of the

solar system in the very place where its creation is first

introduced. If these works be stupendous and magnificent, what

must He be who formed, guides, and supports them all by the word

of his power! Reader, stand in awe of this God, and sin not. Make

him thy friend through the Son of his love; and, when these

heavens and this earth are no more, thy soul shall exist in

consummate and unutterable felicity.

See the remarks on the sun, moon, and stars, after Ge 1:16.

See Clarke on Ge 1:16.

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